With the NBA season just around the corner, there are many questions on the top of mind. What will the race in the Western Conference look like this year? Will the Lakers make any ground now that they have LeBron? But more than that, I am interested in who might be nominated and then picked for Most Valuable Player. LeBron has already earned four MVPs during his NBA career, but can he do it again? If he does, it would put him among the greats like Bill Russell (five), Michael Jordan (five) and Kareem Abdul-Jabar (six), but is he positioned to get the award again? Let’s take a look
5. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant may be entering his 30s, but he’s the kind of player that only gets better with age. His ability to score has only improved since he’s settled into a role with the Warriors. After returning from the All-Star break, he was able to manage 27.4 points per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from downtown and an incredible 89.4 percent from the line. This is bringing him awfully close to the 50-40-90 club.
4. James Harden, Houston Rockets
It will be incredibly difficult to win back-to-back MVPs, but if anyone can do it, it’s James Harden. That said, the nominees for the award are typically centered around individual excellence, team success, and a narrative component. That third criterion is harder to fulfill when you’re no longer the breakout player on the team. Given who he is surrounded with this year, it’s going to be harder for James Harden to win MVP, but we’re still pulling for him, regardless.
3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis has some pretty good game statistics including 28.1 points per game, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.6 blocks. That means Davis has momentum. When he first came to the league, he was all talk, but he’s put in the work and its showing in terms of how he plays. Last season, after DeMarcus Cousins was injured, Davis seized the opportunity to thrive alongside Jrue Holiday and drastically elevated the amount of individual responsibility he was capable of shouldering. Davis might have just the right blend of volume, efficiency and all around contribution that is needed to win him an MVP
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo is only 23 years old and he’s thriving in so many different facets of the game. Because he’s playing in the East, he might have a chance to emerge as a supreme player and thus be a contender for MVP. The challenge that Antetokounmpo will have is the fact that he hasn’t really developed any reliable three-point skills. But, in spite of that, I think he’s going to thrive.
1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
The only player who really has everything that the NBA is looking for in an MVP is LeBroke James. He’s got individual excellence. Sometimes he appears to be part machine. He brings success to whatever team he is on and he also puts a check mark beside that third “narrative” category. LeBron isn’t getting any younger, but you wouldn’t know that by the way he plays. I think that LeBron has a good chance of getting the MVP this year, but only time will tell.
But don’t discount others. Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook are also contenders. Do they stand a chance against the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and James Harden? The short answer is yes, but with so much great talent in the league this season, it’s hard to imagine who will come out on top.