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I know what you are thinking. “It’s way too early for this.” Well, “It doesn’t matter what you think!” (in my 2000 The Rock voice). It’s never too early to talk Most Valuable Player in the NBA, especially with the abundance of superstars we have in the league right now. So here are my top five MVP candidates through the first three weeks of the NBA season.
Honorable Mention – Blake Griffin
The Los Angeles Clippers look a lot different this year, as they lost one of the greatest point guards of all time when Chris Paul decided to take his talents to Houston in the off-season. This may have been a blessing in disguise for Blake Griffin, as the perennial all-star has had the ball in his hands more this season. The Clippers are 5-5 after the first 10 games and look like they will be competing for a playoff spot behind the play of their star power forward. Griffin is averaging 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 48% from the field, and 40% from three point range.
5.) Giannis Antetokounmpo
After the first three games it looked like The Greek Freak would run away with the MVP award, but as we all know, wins matter when determining who is the most valuable. The Milwaukee Bucks have fallen short in that department as they are only 4-6 through the first 10 games. That is no fault of Antetokoumpo’s, as he has shown significant improvement in each and every area of his game. This is after winning the Most Improved Player Award last season. Antetokounmpo is averaging a league leading 31.9 points per game, along with 9.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game. The Bucks’ record may turn around soon as they have added Eric Bledsoe and will have Jabari Parker later on in the season, which means the Greek Freak’s MVP chances will increase.
4.) LeBron James
The Cleveland Cavaliers are not playing well so far this season, but just like the Bucks under performing isn’t on Antetokounmpo, you can say the same for the Cavs and LeBron James. James is still the best player in the NBA and he had a Roy Jones Jr. “Y’all Must of Forgot” game against the Wizards when he dropped 57 points. The Cavaliers are 5-6 despite The King averaging 28.9 points, 9.1 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 60% from the floor and 37% from three point range.
3.) Kevin Durant
The Golden State Warriors are back to playing excellent basketball, and the main reason the Dubs seem unbeatable is the play of Kevin Durant on both sides of the ball. Durant has always been a great scorer but since joining the Warriors he has become a great defender as well. The dominance he shows on both ends may lead to his second MVP award. Durant is averaging 24.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 53% from the field and 46% from deep.
2.) Kyrie Irving
The Boston Celtics are currently on a 10 game winning streak. There is no way anyone thought this team would be on a winning streak this big after the devastating injury to Gordon Hayward on opening night. The win streak should make us appreciate Brad Stevens as a coach, and if coaches could win MVP he may have been in this spot. Even with a coach as great as Stevens, you need players to execute. Kyrie Irving has made his transition to Boston look seamless as he is leading a group of mostly young players to the best record in the NBA, without their second best player. Irving is averaging 22 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 45% from the field.
1.) James Harden
The Houston Rockets were one of the most interesting teams coming into this season as they added Chris Paul in the off-season. The CP3 experiment only has a trial period of one game so far, as Paul hurt his knee in the first game. The Rockets could have been deflated by this but James Harden has not let that happen. The Beard has already dropped a 56 point, 13 assist game this year. When it comes to the MVP award, Harden is always a bridesmaid but never a bride. This year that may change as the Rockets are on pace to a top three record in the western conference. Harden is averaging 29.5 points, 9.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game. The Beard is also very efficient shooting 46% from the field, and 40% from three point range.