Eric Shreve makes his debut article on one of the most controversial and interesting topics in the world of basketball, the MVP race. Every year, LeBron seems to be one of the front runners for the award, and in this article Eric discusses whether or not LeBron can dethrone Stephen Curry for the award once again, or if there is someone new to take the honor of MVP.
One of the hottest debates each NBA season is the MVP race. Every year people debate not only who will win, but more importantly who should win. Here I will break down my top five candidates to take home the MVP award this season.
Number 5: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
I know what a lot of you are thinking, you’re seriously putting the reigning league MVP, and the best player on the defending NBA championship team at five?! Well, I am, and here’s why. There’s no doubt that Steph Curry had a great year last year, as he averaged 23.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game, while leading the league in free throw percentage, and set an NBA record with 286 made three pointers last season. Also, he was third in the league in player efficiency rating on the best team in the league. With all of this being said however, winning consecutive MVP awards is no small feat, there have only been ten players in NBA history to accomplish that. Those players are Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, and Lebron James(twice). All of those players are NBA legends, and though Steph Curry has proved plenty of doubters wrong, he may not be able to this time. Also, if past years are any indication, voter fatigue could prevent Curry from winning again, if there is even a close second for him.
Number 4: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Coming off of an injury riddled 2014-2015 campaign, that included three separate foot surgeries that limited him to just 27 games, expect Durant to come back angry and ready to show the world that he is still the MVP that he was pre-injury. The scary thing about last season to me was, in the 27 games that Durant did play on that bad foot, he still averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 51 percent shooting. If that’s Durant playing hurt, one can only imagine what his numbers will be when he’s healthy. However, the reason Durant isn’t higher on this list is that his health is still a big question mark for this season. Last week he said that he was one hundred percent, but big men have bad histories when it comes to foot injuries, and until he gets back onto the court and plays like the Kevin Durant of old, no one can know for sure. However if he is truly 100 percent, expect him to be a front runner for the MVP award, as he could very well lead this team to the finals if healthy.
Number 3: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Last season, James Harden emerged as a bonafide superstar and a legitimate MVP candidate for years to come. He had impressive averages of 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game while carrying a heavy load with Dwight Howard being injured for a lot of the season. He has the ability to knock down the three ball, while also having a dangerous ability to live at at the line with his explosive drives, leading the league at 10.2 attempts per game while knocking down 86.8 percent of those attempts. Unfortunately for Harden’s numbers, with the addition of Ty Lawson, and the return of a fully healthy Howard and Patrick Beverley, Harden’s numbers may dip a bit causing him to be lower on the list, and not an early season favorite for the award. Even with that being said, James Harden was the runner up for the award last season and after a disappointing end to last season, look for him to come out with something to prove.
Number 2: Anthony Davis: New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis has arrived, and he has officially put the world on notice that he is coming for King James’ crown. At just 22 years old, he is already a top three NBA player, and he’s not even in his prime. He had spectacular averages of 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game while boasting an otherworldly PER of 30.89 and single-handedly dragged his team to the eighth seed in a loaded Western Conference. He is already the best defender in the game, and he is constantly working on improving his offensive repertoire. Latest videos of Davis this summer show him with a reliable three ball, which will only make this young star so much more deadly. If he can do that, and improve his stats from last season, the only thing that will stop him from winning the award is if he is unable to stay healthy and lead his team to the playoffs.
Number 1: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Even though LeBron acts like he doesn’t care about personal accomplishments like the MVP, he actually cares a lot. He was secretly fuming when Derrick Rose won over him in 2010-2011, and it seemed like he made it his mission two years ago in one of the best MVP showdowns in recent memory, including a 61 point performance against a top ten NBA defense. What made him even more angry is that people brushed off his past season as if he was expected to do this being the type of player he is. Also, he’s once again going to have to battle voter fatigue, as he has won the award in four of the past seven seasons. But the fact is, even at age thirty, he is still the best player in the world, showing that with a historic NBA finals performance averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game, almost capturing finals MVP In the process, even though he was of the losing squad. Even before the start of the season it’s almost a forgone conclusion that his Cavaliers will run away with the Eastern Conference this year, since they retained all of their key players, and are less likely to start off 19-20. For these reasons, look for LeBron to prove that he is still the best, and capture his fifth NBA MVP award.
By: Eric Shreve
Edited By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17