NBA MVP Race
I have narrowed the decision to decide who is my leading candidate for MVP so far this season down to six viable candidates. LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At first glance, Anthony Davis looks like the MVP frontrunner. He is absolutely stuffing the stat sheet with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks per game. While shooting 33% from three and 80% from the line, there is nothing this man can't do. Really the only thing hurting him is his teams record. The Pelicans are currently sitting half a game out of the playoffs and have dropped their last 4. This season the Pelicans are 2-9 on the road and need to step it up for Anthony Davis to have chance at his first ever MVP trophy.
Speaking of good players on bad teams. James Harden is putting up an MVP stat line on a squad that is going through struggles. He is averaging 31 points per game which leads the NBA. Currently however, Houston sits at an ugly record of 9-10 which kills Harden's MVP consideration. This team won 65 games last year so you assume they'll eventually get it together.
LeBron James is averaging his usual 27-7-7 stat line he's done pretty much his entire career so of course he'll be in the MVP conversation. What is particularly impressive about this season however, is that he is sinking over 2 threes per game which he has never been able to average over the course of a season so there is something to keep an eye on. Nothing LeBron has done thus far is a surprise thanks to Lebron's greatness becoming so normal to us now. The Lakers are a middle of the pack Western Conference team currently in 7th place. In order for LeBron to catapult himself into a legit MVP contender; he would have to secure a top 4 seed in the West and/or average a triple double in my opinion because there is nothing so far this season that we haven't seen yet from James.
Stephen Curry has also been a superstar this season but has missed half of the Warriors game this season due to injury but should be returning very soon. Once he come back we'll have to see who emerges as the MVP candidate on that team between Curry and Durant. Kevin Durant is averaging 25 points per game with Curry on the floor versus 32 points without him.
To me the real MVP conversation of the season so far is between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. Both have their teams going above and a beyond expectations this season in an Eastern Conference that has turned out to be much deeper than we originally thought. Both players are putting up over 26 points per game and are top 5 in the NBA in rebounding. Antetokounmpo and Embiid also are feared on the defensive side of the ball as well and putting up great numbers there.
Finally, I'm gonna have to go with Giannis Antetokounmpo as my favorite so far for NBA MVP. Antetokounmpo is averaging 26 points on 57 percent shooting from the field. He also hauls in 13 rebounds and 6 assists per game. He is doing all this while the Milwaukee Bucks are 14-6. Milwaukee is averaging 121 points per game with a +11.1 average point differential which are both a league best. Under his first season with the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer has gotten this team rolling on all cylinders and as long as Giannis keeps putting up his usual numbers he will be on pace to receive his first MVP trophy in just his 6th season in the league.