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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: 5 Early MVP Candidates

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The NBA Season is well underway and 11 games in for the most part. While that's really just a sample size, some of these teams and their identities are being revealed early on already. With that being said, the narrative is shaping up for players as well, as the MVP race is starting early on and people are making predictions. Today, I wanted to give my two cents and speak on the 5 early candidates I have listed for MVP so far. Let's take a look.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo
(32.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 60% FG)

-The truth of the matter is, Giannis would be no. 1 on this list if he had the wins to make it happen. However, with the addition of Eric Bledsoe, he might be getting the help he needs to win more. Still, Giannis has outperformed LeBron in both of their meetings, pushed the Bucks when they had no more options, and he's been superb. If the Bucks can turn it around and win some more, Giannis will move into the top spot without question, but until then.... he's teetering the line of being kicked off the candidate list for Anthony Davis or Demarcus Cousins. Still, if he doesn't win MVP, I could easily see another year of Giannis going for the Most Improved Player award. He was really good, now he is great and that transition is deserving of something, even if the wins don't match up exactly. If they start to match up eventually, then you'll see Giannis as the NBA darling again.

4. Steph Curry 
(25.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 48% FG, 94% FT)

-The Warriors are currently tied for the first seed in the West and logically, it seems like they'll land there sooner than later. If this occurs like we expect, I think Steph will have a claim to the award. Now, what does it for him really is the PER and his impact on the game, as he has some of the biggest impact on the game, more than a number of players period in the history of the sport. Steph will see his shooting numbers improve I'm sure over the next 10-15 games and I predict he will finish this year with another 50/40/90 while playing some of the best defense of his career. He's not an elite defender, but he is a good defender, and offensively, there might not be anyone better in the game right now. With the Warriors getting into perfect form and the offense being one of the best ranked in the history of the sport and the defense improving, it's possible Steph could end up as a top 3 candidate for the award by game 30. Whatever the case, let's hope the Warriors continue their winning ways and Steph gets the recognition for being the integral piece for the team.

3. James Harden 
(29.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 9.7 APG, 1.6 SPG)

-I will remain to tell the truth here and that is simple: I don't like James Harden or his game at all. However, so far this season, he looks like he's more focused than ever and he's leading the Rockets to be tied for the no. 1 record in the West with the Warriors similar to the Rockets and their fast start last year. He has quite the team around him, though I predict things will be tough once Chris Paul comes back, but Harden is playing some of his best basketball in these first 11 games. Though Harden bias by his fans would have him at no. 1 likely, he's got enough help on his team that it knocks him down a notch, similar to Steph. Harden will continue pushing the Rockets and putting up amazing stats, and this might be the year that Harden can finally get the MVP that he deservedly missed out on two of the last three seasons. This might be the year where he pulls away from the competition and finally claims the elusive honor. Will we see Harden as MVP? Only time will tell, but he's already making his case quite well.

2. Kyrie Irving 
(22.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.7 APG, 2.2 SPG)

-The best team in the NBA right now is the Boston Celtics. That's not just in the Eastern Conference. That's literally in the entire NBA. They are 9-2 with a chance to go 10-2 by the time you read this likely. That right there makes them a bigger threat than expected and when you consider the fact that they lost a huge All Star in Gordon Hayward likely for the entire season, and had injury issues for both Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart, along with having to rely on their youthful players Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, it's a huge surprise that the Celtics have been so good. They are a solid offensive team, but right now they're the no. 1 defensive team in the NBA and Kyrie is in the top 10 with defensive rating as a player and that's a huge improvement over last year. Simply put, the Celtics have faced adversity and seem to be preserving. They are young, defensive minded, and have a leader in Kyrie, and his new role in the team is what has him as a front runner for MVP. His shooting numbers and overall stats will balance out as the year goes along, but his leadership and his importance to the team are what earn him the ranking here. If it wasn't for the fact that my no. 1 choice was so surprising, Kyrie would be my choice. Anyone who can take a bunch of young and inexperienced players while playing alongside Al Horford and lead his team to the top record in the NBA after losing an All Star deserves all of the accolades.

1. Kristaps Porzingis 
(30.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.3 RPG, 52% FG)

-Okay.... so the truth be told.... I might be getting ahead of myself, but fuck it, why not? For the first time, the top 5 for the MVP doesn't include Kevin Durant or LeBron James. Granted, both have a claim to this award, but Bron is right there under Giannis for the crown, and KD is right there with him. However, this isn't about them. This is about the rising star in New York. Could it be that Carmelo and Phil Jackson were holding the Knicks back? On paper, the Knicks aren't the greatest team, and yet here they are with a winning record 10 games in. I expected a 3-7 start, but they're 6-4 holding comeback victories over the Hornets and a blowout win over the Cavs. They may eventually came back down to reality, but for now, Porzingis is the MVP in my book. If the Knicks keep winning and he continues to play as well as he is, there's no doubt that Porzingis will have a claim to the award. He doesn't have the team that LeBron, Harden, Russ, Kyrie, or Steph has, yet he's making sure the Knicks are in a prime position and currently in a playoff spot. There would be nothing more fun than watching KP become MVP after leading the Knicks to a 50 win season, but that remains to be seen how this turns out. For now, after 10-11 games, Porzingis is my top choice.



  1. Indeed the season of the NBA is going very well and all the games were good to watch. But I think that Kyrie Irving will be the best player at the end of the season.