It’s about that time for the way-too-early MVP predictions. But instead of just listing who I think who could win MVP, I’ll do a ladder or rankings and update monthly. The MVP conversation is always fluid so as it evolves, my thoughts will evolve with it. Right now, we are two months into the season and things are starting to take shape.
Key Stats: 17.1 pts 5.4 rebs 9 asts 2.1 stls
Besides missing 14 games with a bruised left knee earlier in the season. And suffering another injury on the 12/20 matchup against the LA Lakers that resulted in him having to leave in the fourth quarter. Chris Paul has been great and the reason why he’s on the MVP Ladder is simple. When CP3 plays, the Rockets win. When he hasn’t played the result has been up in the air. Houston won 15 straight games with CP3 in the lineup due to his tenacity and stellar court vision.
Key Stats: 24 pts 4.3 rebs 5.1 asts
The most under-the-radar MVP candidate is clearly DeRozan. The Toronto Raptors are lowkey 21-8, which is good enough for second in the Eastern Conference. His play has been kept quiet but he’s been playing really well and his team is winning. Individual success, as well as team success, is important when it comes to MVP selection. Only thing that’s holding DeRozan back is his numbers need to grow slightly and his team needs to win more games than the prior season.
Key Stats: 29.7 pts 10.6 rebs 4.6 asts 1.9 stls 1.5 blks
Without question Giannis has been one of the best players in the world this year. His impact cannot go unmentioned throughout the NBA world. The “Greek Freak” game is very well-rounded. Adding diverse scoring ability with rebounding and defensive intensity makes his game even more profound. The only factor that holds him back from moving up the ladder is his team’s success. The Bucks record is 16-13 which has them at 5th in the average Eastern Conference. In order for Giannis to win, his team must win close to 50 games and finish top 3 in the East.
Key Stats: 26.3 pts 7.2 rebs 5.3 asts 2.2 blks
Kevin Durant has been his usual exceptional self on the basketball court. Scoring has become even easier with shooters like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry on the floor. His numbers are great but lesser than his 2013-2014 MVP season. Also, the Warriors team record is usually great with him or without him so it’s hard to reasonably give KD an MVP nod.
Key Stats: 24.7 pts 4.9 asts 40% 3p
Kyrie Irving has been showing the NBA world he can lead a team to success. This season he has the Boston Celtics at a 26-8 record and first place in the East. Also, Kyrie leads his team to a 19 game win streak which is the longest by any team this season. With Brad Stevens as the coach, Kyrie has gotten even more productive with his shot selection and in the fourth quarter shows his clutch prowess. Earlier in the year, he was first or second on my MVP Ladder but his numbers in total need to be improved. His total stats across the board are lesser than last year which could lose him some votes.
Key Stats: 28.2 pts 8.3 rebs 9.3 asts 57% fg 41% 3p
It’s not easy quantifying what exactly is an MVP season for LeBron James. Just about every season he puts up 26, 7, and 7. What’s different this year is he upped his game to another level. Along with getting his 3-point percentage above 40%, he also leads the NBA in fourth quarter clutch scoring. LeBron lead the Cavaliers to a 13 game win streak recently and they won 18 out of the last 19. Voters fatigue will be one of the main reasons LeBron doesn’t win MVP but his play this season is worthy of first-place votes.
Key Stats: 31.9 pts 5.1 rebs 9 asts
No doubt in my mind, James Harden right now is the MVP of the 2017-2018 season. His numbers across the board are up there with any other great player. Also, his team has been highly successful and with a 25-5 record, the Rockets have the best record in the NBA. His play is filled with substance, highlights, and winning which are necessary when making an MVP bid. After feeling like he got snubbed two years in the row, look out for Harden gunning for the MVP prestigious award.