Arguments For Every MVP Candidate
Writer: Elliot Adway
The year is 2017. Kevin Durant has a championship, Derrick Rose teamed up with LeBron, and Kyrie Irving plays for the Boston Celtics. In other words, anything is possible in the NBA. The most explosive offseason of all time has resulted in the most anticipated MVP race in recent memory. Here’s a look as the cases for and against every potential MVP candidate.
When you are a threat to post a triple double night in and night out, how can you not be an MVP candidate? Russell accomplished a feat that only Oscar Robertson obtained in averaging a triple double for the whole entire season. He also did that while leading the association in scoring, his team in rebounds, and his team in assists. In other words, what the hell can’t he do?
Most of Westbrook’s historic season was due to the lack of playmaking around him. More often than not, he was tasked with making all of the plays, which resulted in a very high usage rate. Add in All-Star forward Paul George and all of sudden his usage rating is more human like. That could very well cost him his scoring title, and maybe even cut his rebounding totals due to PG13’s ability to grab boards.
James Harden would be the reigning MVP if Westbrook didn’t average a triple double. Having averages of 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists while leading your team to the number 3 overall seed in the gladiator-type Western Conference would result in an MVP any other season. Look for Harden to be a frontrunner for this year’s race, hopefully captivating the award that has eluded him his entire career. (Also, shout out to James Harden for donating 1 million dollars in wake of Hurricane Harvey. Prayers out to Houston from The Drive.)
Unfortunately, there is a team in the Bay area that scares the living hell out of GMs across the league. Due to their fear, teams are now vying to team up superstars in hopes to have a chance against the Warriors. Exhibit A? The Houston Rockets. Chris Paul is now in the H and will share the ball with James Harden. Odds are that will impact Harden’s numbers, and could very well cost him another MVP.
The sad fact that Kawhi Leonard’s greatness is often shadowed by the plays of other great superstars across the league should scare the NBA. He’s smiling in the off-season, which alone indicates that he’s about to go Super Saiyan on his opponents. His ability to dominate both sides of the ball is easily unmatched by any player in the association. Look for Leonard to average north of 25 points per game, while still bringing the once in a lifetime versatility back in full force.
I mean let’s be honest, who can really imagine Kawhi Leonard as league MVP besides yours truly? He won’t put up the numbers like Westbrook, be as efficient while scoring as much as Harden, and definitely won’t be raining threes like Curry. Those factors alone can hinder his MVP chances, which is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. The team first style that Gregg Popovich preaches will likely result in another Defensive Player of the Year award for The Claw instead of an MVP.
Tell me a year LeBron James isn’t in the Most Valuable Player discussion, I’ll wait. The King rightfully gets all the respect from the voters due to his all-around greatness, and largely due to the fact that he’s in the Finals literally every year. Subtract Kyrie Irving and his shots, and now you have a motivated, and scary LeBron James. When you’re in the gym making Instagram videos lip syncing to Tee Grizzley, that is never a good sign for the opposition.
The only thing that stops LeBron from having 9 MVPs is the competition around the league. Year in and year out, new superstars come from the shadows and assert themselves among the elite of the NBA. Voters are used to James being his dominant self, which results in them falling in love with the new “face of league”. Ultimately this hurts LeBron’s MVP chances, and might be the beginning of the passing of the torch.
Snake, cupcake, traitor, NBA champion. Call him what you want, but you could very well be calling him MVP next season as well. The always efficient Durant will be looking to repeat and possibly better his numbers from last season while Golden State presumably continues its dominant play. With one year of chemistry to build in with his teammates, Durant will likely raise his 25 points per game, and improve his defensive numbers as he showed in the playoffs. KD was the difference maker in this year’s Finals, expect him to ride the momentum of this June into next season and beyond.
Case against: With a team as loaded as the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the question KD is probably asking himself at home is “Do I even have to be the MVP?” I mean come on, he already plays alongside 2 time MVP Steph Curry, Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, the only mixed man I’ve ever seen with perfect waves. Kevin should definitely take some pointers from Klay about that, then he’d for sure be a runaway to secure his 2nd MVP award.