Who Should Be the NBA MVP?
As the NBA season comes to an end, it is time to reflect on the season, in particular the Most Valuable Player award. This year has the potential to be the tightest race in NBA history. There are four legitimate candidates for MVP- LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kawhi Leonard. There is a fifth candidate, Kevin Durant, but after is injury late, it is not likely for him to get any votes. Durant joined the greatest regular season team in history, the Golden State Warriors, and he led the team in scoring. Many people believed that there would be a drop-off in defensive efficiency after the Warriors signed Durant, but they actually improved from last season. Durant is a seven-foot player that provided a surprising amount of defense for the Warriors. He allowed the Warriors to play small and run at an extremely fast pace.
LeBron James is the best player in the world and there is little debate about it. He is 32 years old and he produced one of his most impressive seasons ever. James joins Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the only players to shoot better than 50% from the field, score 25+ points, eight assists, and eight rebounds a game. There seems that LeBron gets better over time, but this year his team disappointed the rest of the league. They were supposed to run away with the number one seed, but the last two months they slipped all the way to second.
James Harden is one of the clear-cut winners of this year’s MVP award. He was asked to switch to a new position, and he absolutely thrived in it. As point guard for the Houston Rockets, he became the first player ever to score 2,000 points and assist in 2,000 more points. That in itself should win MVP, but Harden led the league in assists and finished second in points scored. He was two rebounds a game from averaging a triple-double.
Russell Westbrook has put together the best season by a single player ever. He joins Robertson as the second player ever to average a triple-double for the entire season. Westbrook also has the record for the most triple-doubles in a single season with 42. Compared to Robertson, Westbrook averaged his triple-double in almost 10 fewer minutes than the Big O. He also led a team with no other stars to a playoff spot.
Kawhi Leonard is the San Antonio Spurs sole all-star. He is the best two-way player in the league and he led the Spurs to a number two seed in the very tough West. He is a serious defensive player of the year candidate and he averaged 25+ points.
Westbrook will win the MVP award. His triple-doubles should be enough to win the award, but if we have to look deeper he means way more to the Thunder than Harden means to the Rockets. The Rockets is loaded with shooters and more than capable players to carry the team without Harden. The Thunder do not have anyone else other than Westbrook. When Westbrook logged a triple-double, the Thunder is 33–7.