By: Ben Meyerson
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The MVP is an interesting award because its not really the best player, instead it’s the story of the season and below I go through the players who have the Top-5 odds to win MVP and the best case of this upcoming season and the worst case of this upcoming season.
LeBron James (+300)
The Lakers win above what is expected (48.5) and win around 53-56 games get the 2/3 seed and the Lakers don’t make a midseason trade for another star. This isn’t that far off LeBron is the favorite for a reason. The MVP isn’t really the best basketball player but rather the most intriguing and best storyline. The last 3 MVPs (Harden, Westbrook and Curry) were the headlines of the NBA:
- Harden has the most efficient season in modern history and the Rockets get the 1 seed and the best record in the NBA
- Westbrook averages a triple-double which hasn’t been done since Oscar Robertson and dominates after KD left
- Curry and the Warriors break the NBA regular season win record and go 73-9 and Curry averages 50(Fg%), 40(3p%) and 90(ft%)
So, for LeBron to not just be successful but to be MVP they need be the story of the league and the roadmap is certainly there. If every week we hear how LeBron is changing the culture for the Lakers and they are above .500 for the majority of the season LeBron will get his 5th MVP.
The Lakers come out flat and around Christmas are around or below .500 and the veterans they brought in are destroying the locker room. The Rondo, McGee, Stephenson and Beasley signings look like the worst acquisitions of any team. Lonzo and Rondo and putting out passive aggressive comments about who starts and who plays in crunch time and one their young players (Hart, Kuzma, Ingram) are not living up to expectations and they are disgruntled about their role. The fact is LeBron could have his best season yet, but if they don’t have a 50+ win season and a top-4 seed some will look at this as if they are not living up to expectations and he won’t win MVP.
Anthony Davis (+350)
The way Anthony Davis wins MVP is simple, the Pelicans continue to make him the focal star of the team and use him the same way he was used after the Demarcus Cousins injury. After the injury he averaged 31 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.25 blocks per game in the regular season (30, 13.5, 2.3 in the playoffs) and if we compare that to another big man MVP it’s not far off:
- Shaq 1999-00 Season (MVP) 29.7 Points, 13.6 Rebounds, 3.0 Blocks per game
The Pelicans would need to win at least 50-games because besides Russell Westbrook the last MVP to win less than 50 games in a season was Moses Malone in 1981-82 season. Anthony Davis is already in the defensive player of the year race every year and if this becomes his team and he puts up the right stats and wins at least 50 games he wins MVP.
The bad thing for AD is the supporting cast and the fact that he might get traded if the Pelicans feel he’s unhappy with their situation. It’s not even the skill level of the supporting cast (which is not good) it’s really the type of players they’ve brought in. If you have AD get him shooters, please for the love of god in this era give him guys who can spread the floor and make a difference on the defensive end, and the Pelicans won’t do it WHY?!? They added good players, for a different team, instead of spreading the floor they added Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton and NOTHING ELSE, the Pelicans are the epitome of wasting talent.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (+400)
Giannis is a video game character, no he’s an alien:
- 6’11, 7’3 wingspan, 220 Ibs, plus he moves like a guard and can dunk from the 3-point line
- 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.5 steals per games and finished 5th in PER (player efficiency rating)
- 1st player to EVER finish Top-20 in all major statistical categories and is one of the only players to lead his team in all 5 categories EVER
They won 44 games last year and had the worst coach in the NBA (easily), now they have a competent coach and he has good talent that makes sense around him. Lopez, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brogdon and İlyasova, all of these guys are competent if not above average 3-point shooters. Also he’s 23, that means he won’t hit his peak for another 4 years, get ready world Giannis is about to control you. Of, course winning 50+ games is the challenge for Giannis, but he will make the leap from super star to HOFer one of these years and why not this year?
He gets injured. Barring this he wins MVP. All hail the beginning of the era of the Greek Freak.
James Harden (+500)
The real reason Harden is on this list is because he won last year and he was incredible, if they win 60+ games this year and he averages 32+ points and 13+ assists he could win MVP since everyone is doubting the Rockets as contenders. He would also have to make the jump from 36% 3-pointers to 40% and be the second player to average 50, 40, 90. Harden was great last season, if the Rockets continue great regular season basketball and are the 1-seed with worse talent and an even more talented western conference he wins MVP.
The reason Harden will not win MVP is because of MVP fatigue, everyone has wanted him to win since 2016 and now that he’s finally won he will not win again. The team is worse this year, Melo is flaky and they lost 2 of there top-3 defenders so it’s hard to see the Rockets winning as many games as they did. The MVP is a storyline award and unless the team is better people will be very bored with them.
Kawhi Leonard (+600)
The case for Kawhi is storyline because the MVP is a storyline award, Kawhi wins if the Raptors are legit contenders. If the Raptors get the 1-seed and are able to beat the Celtics 3 out of 4 regular season games and they dominate the east and get the best or second best regular season team. Kawhi would be 95% or better of 2017 Kawhi and he would put up insane numbers, obviously he has to stay there the whole year and he would have to put up huge memorable games on primetime TV. The fact is the MVP isn’t about dominance, it is perceived dominance and that’s why Westbrook won MVP over Harden even thought the Triple-Double is the most meaningless stat created. If Kahwi can show some emotion and be interesting enough along with the other milestones I set he’ll win MVP.
He won’t win MVP because he won’t be the same and the whole season it’ll feel like he has one foot out the door. Also if Kawhi gets traded he definently won’t win because no MVP would ever get traded and win the award in the same season. Kawhi is also just very boring and frankly the MVP needs to have social media in this day and age.