This year’s race is extremely tight so far, and it looks as though it’ll come down to the wire with 5 legitimate candidates. There are many factors when determining an MVP. Some of those factors include stats, team success, and most importantly, health. We seldom see someone compete for the award if they play under 73 games. Here are my 5 candidates through the first part of the year.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek National is looking like the favorite to repeat as the league’s Most Valuable Player. He is averaging 30 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists, all while averaging 1.5 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game. Those are video game numbers. He’s flirting with a field goal percentage of 60 all while taking 4 threes per game. He’s improved from beyond the arc, shooting a respectable 32% from out there. I’m just nitpicking here but he can improve his free throw shooting (62%) and his ball protection (4.8 TOs per game). He’s my pick right now.
2. LeBron James
Year 17, and he is still an MVP candidate. We’ve been spoiled as basketball fans by the greatness of LeBron James. He looks rejuvenated and is playing great basketball. James has been a triple double machine this year, and with his most recent one against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he now has a triple double against every NBA team in his career. Incredible! His scoring is down to 25.2 points per game, but his assists are up to 11 per contest. A career and league high. King James is leading the Lakers to a 12-2 record so far. That’s tops in the league. If he plays 75 games this season, I truly believe he can win his 5th MVP award.
3. James Harden
There is not a more polarizing player in the NBA. Defenses are struggling to find ways to keep Harden off the free throw line. It isn’t working. He’s attempting 14.5 free throws per game, and is averaging 39.2 points on 42% from the field. His numbers are incredible, they always have been. He had a horribly inefficient start to the season but has picked it up recently. James Harden is a fantastic player, who is a high volume scorer, I just don’t think the 6’5 guard should be the frontrunner. However, he very well could be in the eyes of others.
4. Luka Dončić
The 21 year-old is shaping up to be an all-time great. I have never seen a player like him. Dončić is so under control, never rushed, and loves the big moment. His numbers aren’t too shabby either; 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 9.3 assists per game. The Dallas Mavericks are 8-5, largely in part to the Slovenian national. He’s played and started every single game this year. If Dallas can make the playoffs and Luka can play anywhere between 75-80 games, he will be a serious contender for the award.
5. Anthony Davis
A very compelling case can be made for the 26 year-old perennial all-star as well. AD is always in the conversation when he manages to stay healthy. He has done so so far this season, only missing one game. Davis is leading the league in shot blocking, swatting away 3.1 shots per contest. The Lakers big man is also averaging 25 points a game as well as 9 rebounds. He’s heavily overshadowed by LeBron which could make it tough for him to stay in the conversation. If MVP doesn’t work out for him, he could very well be the defensive player of the year. Anthony Davis has been dominant on that side of the ball all year long.
Featured photo credit: clutchpoints.com
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