In a year where it may be the first time since 2006, LeBron James is not, I repeat is NOT in the MVP discussion. With his first year in LA not being what he planned, the NBA community has a year where he isn’t included at all. With him out of the conversation three NBA superstars emerge as the front runners for the prestigious award; Paul George, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. These superstars are having career years in multiple aspects of their game and as the season is coming to an end, we look back at their MVP chances this year.
In just his second season in Oklahoma, Paul George has done what some people didn’t believe was possible. Though Kevin Durant found some success playing with Russell Westbrook, he had to leave because it was apparently too much to deal with. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for Paul George. He is clearly making his presence known on the defensive side of the court. As one of the best two-way players in the game, he also has a strong case for defensive player of the year. When he is on the court, the Thunder outscore their opponents by 9.5 points per 100 possessions. George is also having a career year offensively, averaging 28.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.2 assist. He credits the team chemistry and dedication to the game for his play this season. The Thunder are currently the 5th seed in the Western Conference and look to have a solid playoff run.
Giannis Antetokounmpo all season long has been doing some scary things on the court. Not only has Antetokounmpo put himself in the MVP conversation, but he has also steadily and constantly improved his game for the last six years. His size alone sets his dominant presence on the court. Then you add his ability to defend and his motor, he has emerged as one of the superstars in this league. Like Paul George, the Greek Freak has put up career highs in multiple statistics averaging 27.4 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 6 assists this season. Did I mention that he is only 24? His career still has so many levels that he will reach and who knows maybe multiple MVPs.
The reigning league MVP James Harden has put up a strong case for why he should be the first Houston Rocket to win back-to-back MVP honors. Harden is averaging 36.4 points and has scored at least 30 points on every single game this year. This year he set the record for the most consecutive 30-point games at 31. Prior to returning from injury, the Rockets were 12th in the western conference and it did not look like they would be in the playoffs. However, because of his play all season long the Rockets are 4th in the west, poised to make noise in the playoffs. Harden’s scoring run this year has taken the world by storm with everyone shooting step back threes.
Essentially your MVP is someone your team cannot win without and these three candidates have certainly made it known that they can ball and more importantly, when the time comes carry the team to success. Anyone of these athletes can win the award this year and this will certainly be the right amount of momentum to push these players and their teams deep into the playoffs.