NBA Award Predictions Roundtable: Most Valuable Player
As has been known for awhile now, the race was essentially a two-headed race from start to finish. Russell Westbrook seemingly has taken the edge after breaking Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record, but both players definitely have their case.
“1. James Harden- When you look at his efficiency, where Houston was projected to finish, the wins increase from last season, the position change, the talent around him, his averages and finishing top three in the West…he’s my MVP.
2. Russell Westbrook- What Westbrook has done this season without Durant has been amazing. What holds me back is a few things. I just can’t vote for an MVP candidate that won’t reach 50 wins and won’t have home court at any point in the playoffs.
Adams and Oladipo are god young talents around him who just got massive contracts. I do believe the triple-doubles are impressive, but I do fall into the camp that believes the stat is a little overrated in todays day and age. He is right behind Harden for me.
3. Kawhi Leonard- The Spurs should finish with around 63-64 wins again this year with Kawhi Leonard as their only all-star…and they really don’t have another player remotely close to being an all-star.
Aldridge and Gasol are not the players they once were and Mills is arguably their best player. Leonard brings the elite talent on BOTH ends of the floor, something that other candidates like Harden and Isaiah Thomas do not have. If the Spurs got the top seed, he could have won this award.
4. Isaiah Thomas- The midget continues to do work. Thomas took the league by storm in the East this season as he led Boston to the second seed in the East, right on the heels of Cleveland. Averaging right at 30 points a game, he is my fourth pick.
5. LeBron James- Arguably still the best player in the world, LeBron sort of gets looked over every year. Cleveland is near the top seed again in the East and LeBron still seems to have a light switch that he can turn on at any moment.”
“1. James Harden
2. Russell Westbrook
3. Kawhi Leonard
4. LeBron James
5. John Wall
Harden and Westbrook are obviously the two leading candidates for MVP in my opinion. After that the “tier 2” is Kawhi and LeBron, with Kawhi edging out James purely because of the Spurs having a better record. Fifth I like John Wall. Averaging 23 and 11 on the 3rd team in the East is quite a feat, and he is the clear leader in Washington. His defensive impact helps edge out IT4, the Brow, and others.
As for the winner, I give Harden the slight edge over Westbrook. The two main schools of thought for MVP is “best player on best team” and the literal translation “most actual value to team”. I think Harden has a nice balance for both as the Rockets have way overachieved and exceeded expectations, while Harden is also imperative to the team’s success. Westbrook is slightly more valuable to the Thunder, but couldn’t lead them to as many wins, despite all the triple doubles. It’s a coin flip, but I lean towards the Beard.
With the lone dark horse pick in the race, it would be hard to argue that Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way player in the league. Harden and Westbrook both deserve to be where they are but Leonard definitely has earned some recognition.
“1. Kawhi Leonard- I know it is a long shot but I believe that Kawhi Leonard deserves the MVP this year. The Spurs held down the 2-seed in the West with an impressive 61-win season thanks mostly to Kawhi who averaged over 25 points per game. The most impressive thing about Kawhi though is that he is going to finish in the top 5 in both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. That has to mean something to the league.
2. Russell Westbrook- The undoubted favorite is Westbrook and for good reason. Averaging a triple-double for an entire season is unbelievable, no matter if he was trying to pad his stats or not. The only reason I give Kawhi the edge is because his team did better and their are two sides of the game.
3. James Harden- Harden put up some unbelievable numbers this year and the Rockets went from a .500 team that squeaked into the playoffs to a true contender for the NBA title this year. The personnel changes gave Houston some firepower, but this team turned it around for 1 big reason. James Harden.
4. Isaiah Thomas- The Boston Celtics edged out the Cleveland Cavaliers for the best record in the East and IT edges out LeBron in the MVP race for me. The Celtics had an impressive 53-29 season this year thanks largely to Thomas’ 28.9 points per game. He also shot the lights out of the gym in clutch time with shooting percentages of .478/.400/.904. I know size shouldn’t affect the voting but, did I mention that he is 5’9″?! No one at his size has ever come close to what he has done this year.
5. LeBron James- As much as I dislike LeBron, it is almost painful to see a guy that averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game while shooting nearly 55% from the field this low in the voting. But, with the league where it is at right now and the fact that LeBron is still King James, this is where he lands.”
Next: Dallas Mavericks: 5 Takeaways From Exit Interviews
Obviously this season is one to remember as so many players have a case for a number of different reasons to take home the NBA MVP title. Despite some incredible candidates, it is clear that two stick out of the crowd. Find out who took home the award on June 26th, 2017.