NBA MVP Race Heating Up

The NBA season is over 40 games in, with the season at its midway point it is time to look at who has thrown their name into the MVP race this season.

The Favorites

  • James Harden, Guard, Houston Rockets
    • 34.1 PPG, 8.7 APG, 6.1 RPG

The reigning MVP has shown no signs of slowing down this season. Harden has been on a scoring tear, scoring at least 40 points in seven of his last ten games including three triple doubles.  Harden knows how well he’s been playing this season and is not shy about showing it. Harden told Turner Sports’ Ros Gold-Onwude “I need it. I need it for sure. And I’m going to get it” when asked about this years MVP.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Forward, Milwaukee Bucks
    • 26.6 PPG, 6.0 APG, 12.8 RPG

The Greek Freak is having a career year this season. He’s averaging career highs in field goal percentage (58.1%), rebounds and assists. Giannis is playing great and has the Bucks on their best run in over a decade. The Bucks are currently second in the Eastern Conference at 29-12. If the Bucks can secure a top two seed, and if Giannis can improve his three point shooting the Greek Freak just might go home with his first MVP award this June.

  • Russell Westbrook, Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
    • 21.4 PPG, 10.6 APG, 10.8 RPG

Even with his poor shooting this season Westbrook still has the chance to

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11make NBA history. During the 2016-17 season Westbrook became the second player in league history to average a triple-double for the season. Last season he became the ONLY player in NBA history to average a triple-double in back to back season. He is currently on the verge of averaging a triple-double for THREE straight seasons.

  • Kawhi Leonard, Forward, Toronto Raptors
    • 27.1 PPG, 3.1 APG, 7.9 RPG

Leonard was limited to only nine games last season due to a right quad injury. In his first season with the Toronto Raptors Leonard has reminded everyone just how good the 2014 Finals MVP truly is. Leonard is averaging career highs in both points and rebounds, and the Raptors are currently on their best run in team history. Sitting atop the NBA with a league best record of 32-12.

  • Nikola Jokić, Center, Denver Nuggets
    • 19.2 PPG, 7.5 APG, 10.2 RPG

Jokić has solidified himself as one of the best and most versatile big men in the league. His skills as a passer are amazing, making the young center a constant triple-double threat. He currently has five on the season. Jokić’s play and leadership has led the Nuggets to the second best record in the NBA, and first in the Western Conference at 28-13.

Outside Looking In

  • Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
    • 26.9 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 1.9 BLK

JoJo has shown that he is a legitimate 2-way threat on both sides of the ball, dominating on both offense and defense. If JoJo can shoot better from three and if the Sixers can make a jump in the Eastern Conference standings (currently fourth) JoJo could see a jump in the MVP rankings.

  • Paul George, Forward, Oklahoma City
    • 26.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.2 STL

George is having a career year in his second season with Oklahoma City. George is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and steals this season. He has been a nice constant for the Thunder who have been dealing with Westbrook’s shooting woes this season. Thanks to George’s play this season on both ends of the floor the Thunder have been able to maintain a top three seed in the Western Conference currently sitting at third.

Sleepers to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Stephen Curry, Guard, Golden State Warriors
  •  Kevin Durant, Forward, Golden State Warriors

*Key: PPG = Points Per Game, APG = Assists Per Game, RPG = Rebounds Per Game, BLK = Blocks Per Game, STL = Steals Per Game

*Stats courtesy of Yahoo Sports*

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Chris Collymore

I'm an aspiring sports journalist who believes these few things; Basketball is the world's greatest sport, The PS2 is the greatest console, Avatar: The Last Airbender is the world's greatest show and Football is the world's greatest religion.

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