5 NBA MVP Candidates
By: Luca Scott
Kawhi Leonard would be higher in the list if not for the fact that he’s missed nearly 20 games this season. Despite that, Leonard has led the Toronto Raptors to the second best record in the league at 46-19 while averaging a career high in points with 27.0 per game. Raptors are also 20-16 against .500 teams this season which is top 5 in the league. Leonard has still shown to be arguably the best defender while leading a championship caliber team.
Paul George has had an amazing bounce back year by having an MVP like season. Paring alongside Russell Westbrook who has been shooting terribly all season long, George has had to step up for the Oklahoma City Thunder on numerous occasions. They currently have a 40-25 record which is tied for 7th best in the league. George is averaging 28.6 points, 4.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Some might say it’s crazy to have James Harden so low considering the fact that he’s averaging 36.2 points (most since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season) 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds while leading the Rockets to the third seed in the western conference, after they had struggled early in the season and before the All-Star Break. However it is a reasonable argument to make that Harden is only averaging so many points because he shoots 24 times a game 13 of which are three pointers. The Mike D’antoni system has helped Harden tremendously over the last several years.
Nikola Jokic has taken a team in the Denver Nuggets to the 2nd seed in the western conference and 4th overall in the league. Jokic is averaging 20.5 points, 7.7 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game this season. Jokic’s team has been plagued by injuries to key pieces like Isaiah Thomas, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap. Through it all the Nuggets have found ways to win thanks to Jokic and have been juggernauts at home with a 27-6 record which is the 3rd best in the league.
Averaging 27.1 points, 6 assists, 12.6 rebounds and leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA is the reason why Antetokounmpo is leading the MVP race right now. No one at the beginning of the season anticipated the Bucks having the best record up to this point as they are currently 48-14, while their record against .500 teams is the best in the league at 24-8. Antetokounmpo is leading an unexpected charge and has a field goal percentage of 57% in the process which is 9th in the entire league.