The end of the NBA season is right around the corner, and there is no clear cut winner for the MVP award. There are four players who each have a good case as to why they deserve to win the prestigious accolade that has been awarded to the greatest players of all time.
Kawhi Leanord will probably have the slimmest chance of winning the award, but his impact this season is note worthy. The reigning two-time defensive player of the year and probably the best two-way player in the league has been impressive this year. The San Antonio Spurs currently sit second in the Western Conference, due to his play on both ends of the floor. For starters, his 2.1 turnovers a game (NBA.com) is the lowest between the top four candidates. According to basketball-reference.com, he also has the most blocks (0.8) and steals (1.7) per game when compared to other candidates that also deserve to win the award. After Tim Duncan retired, Kawhi was given the keys to be the focal point in the Spurs offense, and he has certainly not disappointed, scoring 26.1 points a game (NBA.com). Although he will probably be the second player in NBA history to win the DPOY award three times consecutively, do not expect him to win the MVP award this year.
Since winning his first MVP award out of four in 2009, LeBron James seems to always make a case as to why he deserves to be crowned the MVP. Although the Cleveland Cavaliers have been dethroned by the Boston Celtics in the East, they are still not a team to be messed with. He shows his worth to the team when he sits out, where the Cavs have yet to win a game. According to fanragsports.com, his stats of roughly 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists a game while shooting 54% from the field have been met by only two players…Jordan and Oscar Roberston. Although he is getting older, he still is an elite player and his team is always in the conversation to win a championship. Out of all the years that he has won the award, this will be the worst season, stats-wise, out of the bunch–and yet, the fact that he is still in the running makes him an even greater player.
James Harden’s switch to point guard has been nothing short of a magnificent move for the Houston Rockets. Mike D’Antoni’s offensive schemes are the perfect system for him, and his 2016-17 stats seem to show that. He averages roughly an astonishing 29 points, 8 rebounds and 11 rebounds a game while his team currently sits third in the west. He currently has twenty triple doubles on the season and, according to CBSsports, he is the first player in NBA history to generate 2,000 points while assisting on 2,000 points in the same season. Although he still sits behind Russell Westbrook in triple doubles, he has exceeded expectations, especially when ESPN predicted his team to finish eighth in the West in their annual summer predictions. If he ends up not winning the MVP award, his season will still go down as one of the greatest of all time.
When one thinks of Russell Westbrook, “triple doubles” and “most valuable player” are all words that come to mind. He recently passed Oscar Robertson for most triple doubles in a single season, which now stands at 42 (NBA.com). He also recently scored the most points (57 points) while putting up a triple double. It looks almost set in stone that he will average a triple double, a bench mark that has only been met by one player which is, you guessed it…Oscar Robertson. Although his team currently has the sixth spot in the West, his production on the court as well as his value to the team cannot be matched. Let’s be honest, without him, the team would not be the same. His ferocity on the court is shown every time he laces up his sneakers; a nightmare for NBA teams. Since Kevin Durant left, he has no problem being “the man” for the Thunder. Look for him to be the favorite to win the award.
Each player has his own case for winning the award, but only one player can go home with the award (don’t tell Kobe Bryant that). Look for this season to be one of the closest MVP races in a long time.