NBA MVP Candidates
From the first week of the NBA season it became clear that every player would be chasing Steph Curry for the title of NBA MVP.
Curry was the reigning MVP, at least by the normal standards. His peers however, felt that he was not as deserving of the award and voted James Harden as their MVP.
It seems as though this has led Curry to a season of vengeance. Hardly anyone has stood in his way as he and the Warriors have steam-rolled the league.
In honor of the players’ vote last season, let’s take a look at five other MVP candidates that are not named Steph Curry.
5. Paul George- 23.4 PPG, 4.1 APG, 7.0 RPG
The Pacers just missed the playoffs last year with PG-13 spending essentially all season on the bench. We are talking about a guy who had one of the nastiest leg breaks in recent sports memory. The hopes for the team were a little higher with the addition of Monta Ellis as a combo guard. Unfortunately Ellis is suffering his worst scoring season since his rookie campaign. This has led to Paul George having to carry the team.
George is the only player on the roster that has a PER over 20. George is also either ranked 1st or 2nd on the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. A majority of these stat lines rank towards the top of his career in terms of rank. His shooting percentages have dropped slightly, but this can be accompanied to having to take more shots than any other season.
George is a bright, young star in the league. Unfortunately, he is on a team that is struggling to build itself to be contenders. They will be either a 7 or 8 seed in the playoff more than likely. It is unrealistic to think the George can carry this team past a top team by himself, but Indiana owes their success this season to him.
4. DeMarcus Cousins- 27.0 PPG, 3.3 APG, 11.6 RPG
The Kings will miss the playoffs this season, but have seen their center post a career high in points. Cousins’ is averaging almost three points per game more than last year, while shooting almost 34 percent from behind the arc. This may not seem very good, but this is coming from a player who has never shot over 25 percent. This rise in percentage makes it harder for teams to guard him as he is becoming better at extending the floor. Like George, Cousins is the only player on his team with a PER over 20.
The case for Cousins being an MVP candidate is marred by his outlandish attitude and anger issues. These things have caused much disarray in the organization, especially between him and Coach Karl. The tension between these two has been much worse than the LeBron-Blatt story.
It is unclear if the attitude and actions that accompany Cousins are what hinder him from being in the talk, but it certainly hasn’t kept him from being the most dominant big man in the league this season.
3. LeBron James- 25.0 PPG, 6.6 APG, 7.4 RPG
No MVP talk seems complete without at least a mention of LeBron. This is one of the first years that he has been essentially irrelevant in the conversation.
There are many factors that both help and hinder James in his resume for MVP. His field goal percentage is up about two percent from last season and his rebounding numbers have improved. On the down side, James is having his worst three-point shooting season since his rookie season. Also, his assist numbers are down from last season.
He has posted more double-doubles and triple-doubles than his prior two seasons. However, the team around LeBron is also hindering his chances to win it. With Kyrie averaging almost 20 PPG since his return, James is getting quite a bit of help around him as well.
2. James Harden- 28.6 PPG, 7.5 APG, 6.4 RPG
The player’s choice MVP from last season would be a front-runner for the league MVP in any other season if it weren’t for Curry.
Harden has increased his stats in points, assists, and rebounds this season all to career high levels. He is second in scoring only behind Curry. The only true downsides that Harden has working against him is the fact that his percentages have all dropped to some of the lowest of his career. On top of that, Harden’s casual effort on defense also hinders him a little bit.
Fortunately for Harden, his defense can be dismissed from the conversation slightly due to the fact that the next highest scorer on the team is Dwight Howard at just over 14 PPG.
The Rockets are in a fight with the Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and are going to play behind the one man wrecking crew of Harden to even get in.
1. Russell Westbrook- 23.7 PPG, 10.4 APG, 7.7 RPG
Westbrook is one of, if not the most, well-rounded player in the NBA in terms of production. This is a point guard that is averaging fairly close to a triple-double.
Last season saw Westbrook break out as the triple-double king with Durant on the sidelines. A main question was whether he could be that same player with Durant coming back this season. He has proven that it doesn’t matter if he is the first or second option, he is just that good.
Westbrook finished with 11 triple-doubles last season. This season he has 16. In addition, he had 31 double-doubles last season, and 49 already this season.
He is shooting his best percentage from the field for his career, but is still shooting a horrid 29 percent from outside.
Westbrook gives the Thunder the explosiveness going into the playoffs that will allow them to contend with the best of them.
Damian Lillard- 25.4 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.2 RPG
Isaiah Thomas- 22.3 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.0 RPGhttps://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/nba-mvp-candidates/https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/a-68.jpg?fit=500%2C281&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/a-68.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Boston CelticsCleveland CavaliersGolden State WarriorsHouston RocketsIndiana PacersNBAOklahoma City ThunderPortland Trail BlazersRecent PostsSacramento Kings#Dwight Howard,#Isaiah Thomas,Damian Lillard,David Blatt,DeMarcus Cousins,George Karl,James Harden,Kevin Durant,Kyrie Irving,LeBron James,Monta Ellis,NBA MVP,Paul George,Russell Westbrook,Steph CurryFrom the first week of the NBA season it became clear that every player would be chasing Steph Curry for the title of NBA MVP. Curry was the reigning MVP, at least by the normal standards. His peers however, felt that he was not as deserving of the award and...Malachi DavidMalachi Davidmalachidavid89@Gmail.comContributorHey there! Journalism student in the dairy state. Covering NBA and the NFL.MyFantasySportsTalk