As the NBA season approaches the All-Star break, I felt it was appropriate to give my choices for league MVP thus far. As anticipated, the Golden State Warriors currently hold the best record in the NBA at 43-8 and are 1st in the Western Conference, while the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the best record in the Eastern Conference at 35-15. As of right now, both teams are looking like the favorites to meet for a third time in the NBA Finals. If the MVP trophy were to be given out right now, here is how I see players would finish.
- PG, Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Without a doubt, Westbrook has been the most exciting player in the NBA thus far. Westbrook has 25 triple-doubles this season and is averaging 31 points, 10.4 assists, and 8 rebounds. Clearly, he will need some additional help from his teammates in order to maintain a playoff spot. However, regardless or not if the Thunder make the playoffs, Westbrook is still my choice for MVP. Unless he gets injured or is unable to play for some odd reason, he will still put up ridiculous numbers even after the All-Star break. He seems to have that “no one can stop me” mentality as he attempts to join Oscar Robertson as the only NBA player to average a triple-double throughout an entire NBA season.
- PG, James Harden, Houston Rockets
In my mind, Harden is the only other player that will compete with Westbrook for the MVP at the end of the year. On the season, Harden has eight 40-plus point games, which is tied with Westbrook for the most in the NBA. Harden is averaging 28.9 points (3rd in NBA), 11.4 assists (1st in NBA), and 8.2 rebounds (3rd among guards). Moving Harden to PG has been Mike D’Antoni’s smartest decision, which potentially could be the reason he wins NBA Coach of the Year when it’s all said and done. Harden and the Rockets currently stand 3rd in the Western Conference and show no signs of slowing down.
- PG, Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
This may come as a shock to some, but right now Thomas ranks 3rd in my choice for NBA MVP. IT is averaging 29.9 points (2nd in the NBA), and 6.4 assists (13th in NBA). Despite the relatively low averages, the stat I’m most impressed with is the fact he is averaging nearly 11 points per game in the fourth quarter this season, the most by any NBA player in the LAST 20 YEARS. He is clearly the king of the 4th and leads a Celtics team that seems to be the only logical team to compete with the Cavs’ for best in the East. I may eat my words toward the end of the season, but for now Isaiah Thomas is 3rd in my MVP ranking.
- SF, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
King James is undoubtedly the best player in the league. He is averaging 25.9 points (8th in NBA), 8.8 assists (4th in NBA), and 7.9 rebounds per game. At 32 years old, James seems to be killing father time as he is averaging 37 minutes per game, which is slightly under Kyle Lowry for most in the NBA. He doesn’t have the numbers that are willing of the MVP crown, but it’d be a lie if I said LeBron James isn’t one of the most valuable players in the league and to his team.
In my eyes, the term MVP is the most valuable player to their team, rather than in the league. With that being said, it’s relatively unfair to select either Steph Curry or Kevin Durant even with the way they are playing, which is why they remain out of my candidates. Other notable mentions were DeMarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, Gordon Hayward, John Wall and Paul George.