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It’s hard to believe that we are already past the quarter mark of the NBA season. It has been a very interesting year so far. We have an abundance of players playing at a MVP type level. Who is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player so far? Here are my rankings for the MVP race at this point in the young NBA season.
Honorable Mention: DeMarcus Cousins
The New Orleans Pelicans are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with a record of (15-15). The biggest reason for that has surprisingly not been Anthony Davis (although he is having another awesome season), it has been DeMarcus Cousins. The man they call “Boogie” has been dancing up and down the stat sheet. Cousins is averaging 26.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. On top of stuffing the entire stat sheet, Boogie has also been efficient shooting 47% from the field, 73% from the free throw line on eight attempts per game and 35% from three point range.
5.) Kyrie Irving
The Boston Celtics stand a top the Eastern Conference at (25-7) with the best defense in the entire NBA. Kyrie Irving who had the reputation for being a defensive liability has been a much improved defender within Boston’s defensive scheme. Irving along with playing improved defense has been an absolute artist on the offensive side of the ball, dazzling his way to 24.2 points and 4.9 assists per game, while shooting 49% from the floor, 87% from the free throw line and 40% from beyond the three-point arc.
4.) Giannis Antetokoumpo
The Milwaukee Bucks are fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of (15-13). The long straw that stirs the Bucks cocktail is Giannis Antetokoumpo. The Greek Freak is showing us what that the future may be now. He dominates both ends of the floor, stuffing the stat sheet like DeMarcus Cousins while being a much better defender. Antetokoumpo is averaging 29.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. Milwaukee’s best player is also shooting 54% from the field and 76% from the free throw line on 9.7 attempts per game.
3.) Kevin Durant
While writing this article, I was watching Kevin Durant go to work against the Dallas Mavericks and saw him scoring 36 points. Durant scores the ball against NBA competition the same way an adult does against elementary school kids. It’s amazing to watch the ease in which he averages 26.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game. He is shooting 52% from the field, 88% from the free throw line, and 41% from three-point range. The “Slim Reaper” is playing defense at an All-NBA defensive team level as well. Durant’s brilliance on both ends has been the main reason the Golden State Warriors are (23-6) despite injuries to Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
2.) LeBron James
The point that LeBron James is having an MVP type season in year 15 of his career has been drilled into our heads over and over again but for good reason. It is truly unbelievable that James is putting up these numbers at this stage of his career and has lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a (23-8) record to this point in the season. The “King” is averaging 28.1 points, 9.1 assists, and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting an absurd 58% from the field, and 41% from three-point land. James has the Cavaliers playing great basketball without their second best player, Isaiah Thomas.
1.) James Harden
The Houston Rockets are playing the best basketball in the NBA and that high level of play has been powered by James Harden. The NBA world has known about Harden’s incredible offensive game for quite a while now and this season he has exceeded his past greatness. The Rockets hold the best record in the league at (24-4) and there doing it with both fast paced offense and good defense. “The Beard” is averaging 31.5 points, 9.1 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45% from the field, 86% from the free throw line on nine attempts and 39% from three-point land.