5.) Kevin Durant
Although his scintillating form from earlier in the season has teetered off to an extend, KD still finds himself on the outskirts of the MVP conversation.
Despite the slight drop-off, Durant is still putting up an impressive 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists per night, while shooting at a career best 53% clip.
He’s of course, been the main cog behind the Warriors’ league best record, and if his team wasn’t preloaded with a plethora of All-Stars, he’d find himself at the true heart of this debate.
4.) Kawhi Leonard
For what seems like the 20th season running, the Spurs are ever so quietly going about their business, and producing one of the league’s most impressive records.
And for the 6th straight season to begin his career, Kawhi Leonard has seen a notable uptick in his scoring and playmaking statistics.
The reigning two-time defensive player of the year still plays with the same tenacity on that end of the floor, and is averaging over 24 points a night, a stark 3-point improvement from last season and an almost 8-point improvement on the season before that.
3.) Russell Westbrook
We know, we know, Russell Westbrook is putting together the most mind-boggling statistical season since Wilt. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he deserves the MVP.
Westbrook is averaging a triple double, and that in itself deserves recognition, but we must consider that he’s averaging that triple double on the back of (by far) the highest usage rate in the league, and that the Thunder have plummeted to 6th in the West.
Russ will have to clean up his inefficiencies, and improve his team’s performance, if he wants to surpass the top two players on this list.
2.) LeBron James
While the talk of the down has been about Westbrook and Harden, the league’s best player has quietly put together one of his best seasons, though I’m not sure how LeBron James, of all players, has been going about his business quietly.
The King is averaging over 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Believe if or not, if the numbers hold steady, this would be the first season in LeBron’s illustrious career that he’s put forth such a stat line for an entire regular season.
The Cavs are pulling away from the pack in the East, and the Kyle Korver acquisition should only boost his assist numbers. Don’t be surprised if he wins this thing at season’s end.
1.) James Harden
Surprised? Don’t be. Harden has been far and away the most valuable player in basketball this season.
The shooting guard turned point guard is averaging over 28 points, 8 rebounds, and tops the league with an 11.3 assist average.
But, unlike Westbrook, Harden’s numbers have generated wins. He’s taken his team composed of borderline nobodies and turned them into contenders in the West. Right now, the Rockets are undoubtedly the most overachieving team in the league, sitting in the West’s #3 seed.
Harden has been the driving force behind the resurgence, and is running away with this award.