The MVP is the best individual award that can be bestowed on an NBA player. Early in the season, these players have proven to be the best in the league at their craft.
- Stephen Curry, Point Guard, Golden State Warriors- The reigning MVP is off to an incredible start this season for the Warriors. There’s not much left to say about Steph that hasn’t been said already. He’s the machine behind the team with the best record in the NBA. With Curry running the point, the Dubs are off to a historic 35-2 start to this season and are in prime shape to break the Bulls record for most wins in a season. Curry himself is the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.5 a night. Arguably the best shooter in NBA history, Curry has strengthened his case by hitting 45% of threes and shooting 90% from the charity stripe. Curry is the best player on the best team in the league, making him the obvious number one candidate for the MVP this season.
- Kevin Durant, Small Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder- It’s great to see KD finally healthy again. After winning the MVP in 2014, the 2014-2015 season was one to forget for Durantula, as he battled a multitude of injuries that limited him to just 27 games. Durant has looked as smooth as ever, averaging 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. The Slim Reaper has looked as deadly as ever, shooting 52% from the field, 41% from behind the arc and 89% from the line. The Servant (seriously he has like a million nicknames) still shares shots with Russell Westbrook, and quite frankly it’s not a bad thing. Durant and Westbrook are the best duo in the league and any person who thinks the Thunder should move Russell has never actually watched basketball. But either way, Durant gets his numbers and ranks just behind Curry in the MVP race.
- DeMarcus Cousins, Center, Sacramento Kings- Boogie Cousins has been in headlines his entire career. But the last few seasons, Cousins has made the headlines due to his dominance down low. The best center in the league, by far, Cousins has taken his play to a new level this season. The Kentucky product is averaging a double-double with 25.6 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. Always great offensively, Cousins has added a three point shot to his arsenal, making him THE toughest cover in the NBA. It really sucks that he’s part of the laughingstock that is the Sacramento Kings, because if they were even a little competitive, Boogie would be the leading MVP candidate.
- Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward, San Antonio Spurs- The evolution of Kawhi Leonard has been one of the best stories in the NBA the last three years. He won Finals MVP in 2014 and the star was born. He’s one of the best two way players in the Association and is a bonafide MVP candidate. He may not be flashy, but he just produces like the Spurs have for 20 years. Averaging 20.7 points doesn’t jump off the page, but shooting 51% from the field, 49% from three and 88% from the line certainly do. When you factor in his rebounding ability, 7.1 per game, and All-NBA level defense, you have a top 10 player in the league, and a potential MVP in your midst.
- Paul George, Small Forward, Indiana Pacers- The story of the year n the NBA, Paul George has overcome one of the nastiest injuries of all time. The injury limited him to just six game last season but this has been an unreal bounce back season for the All-Star forward. He’s cooled down a bit since coming out on fire in the beginning of the year, but George has led Indiana into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race by averaging 24.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He’s shooting 39% from deep and has shown off his defensive acumen as well. He’s overcome a potential move to power forward, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him too much. He joins Kawhi Leonard as one of the best two way players in the league and also joins him in the MVP conversation.
Honorable Mentions: Russell Westbrook, Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony Davis, Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans, Jimmy Butler, Shooting Guard, Chicago Bulls, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Andre Drummond, Center, Detroit Pistons
Each of these players mentioned are All-Star and All-NBA caliber talents. None of them are new to the spotlight and are the leaders on their respective teams. Of course it’s not even the All-Star break or even halfway through the season but these players have separated themselves from their fellow athletes in the MVP race.
Picture via TheSource
Stats via ESPN