As we come close to reaching our 30 game mark into the NBA Season, a hot topic of discussion is the MVP Race. Who’s a candidate? Who’s a stat-padder? Who’s a regular season star that will disappear in the postseason?
All valid questions to ask if you’re a massive NBA fan like myself.
Coming closer to that marker, there are four guys that caught my eye: The King, The Beard, The Freak, and The Future. LeBron James, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic; all guys that perform night-in and night-out for their respective teams.
The coolest part about these guys is you can make a serious case for all of them. Whether it’s statistics, or team record, every player can make a clear-cut statement of why they deserve the Most Valuable Player Award.
No need for me to geek you all out with statistics, the point here is to make a case on how each of these four stars have a chance.
LeBron James: Unfairly described as the “Washed King” by some critics before the season, LeBron has done what he does best in silencing those that doubt him. As of December 4, 2019 the Lakers are the hottest team in basketball. A 10-game win streak that’s featured incredible stat-lines and NBA historical achievements.
Sure, the addition of young superstar Anthony Davis could take away some of that fire power – but anyone that has been watching the purple and gold knows the Crown still belongs to the King. LeBron’s numbers in year 17 follow as 26 ppg, 7 reb, and 11 ast (league leader). Not to mention he’s throwing up more threes and hitting them. Solid for a washed up King.
There is one particular issue though when it comes to guys that cast these votes and decide who receives this award – LeBron has not won MVP since 2013. The man performs at the highest level every single season and until he slows down, he will remain arguably the best in the world.
Luka Doncic: As the young Euro-Star emerges as a top player in the Association, it is more than just Luka’s personal success on the floor – his teammates have also grown and because of it they sit currently as the four seed in the loaded Western Conference. (15-6)
Oh and by the way, they are only catching more fire as they sit at 9-1 in the last 10 games. When looking at the statistics, he has only grown as a player since his rookie season. Doncic is currently averaging 30 ppg, 10.1 reb, and 9.2 ast.
Keep in mind the guy has yet to share a glass of wine with LeBron and Chris Paul after primetime games. While playing every game thus far, Luka is putting up these crazy figures in only 33 minutes a night.
He has proven he is capable of leading a team, as Luka has taken the league by storm. And that is exactly what the league wants and looks for.
In recent years, Dallas has struggled to put a team together. We awaited for the Dirk retirement and thought about the possibilities of who would soon become the new face of the franchise.
Doncic has taken that role over and placed Dallas back on the map. With an All-Star caliber season, there is no reason why the 20 year old from Slovenia cannot take home the most prestigious award.
James Harden: Love or hate him, no one in this league can single-handedly demolish a team like the Beard. His infamous step-backs, takes to the basketball that result in him shooting 15 free throws a game, or the incredible lack of effort when playing defense, James Harden may be the most exciting player in basketball.
His capability to score from anywhere on the floor will drop opponents, and his handles to create space and move the ball are unstoppable as well. Averaging 40 ppg this season is absolutely outrageous – considering he plays with a ball-dominant point guard in Russell Westbrook. Harden is attempting a career high 14 threes a game, taking more shots from downtown than actual mid-range shots.
And did I forget to mention that as well as the crazy three point numbers, The Beard is hitting on average 13/15 free throws a game coming out to 86%. Crazy stats all around, and one of the most insane seasons the NBA has ever seen from a scoring standpoint. The 2018 MVP will look to take back his title and with the show he is putting on now, and he very well can.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yes – I spelt it right the first time. At the age of 25, most are comparing Giannis to a young Shaq, with a jump shot. Dominant in the paint, a rebounding machine, top tier defender, and a terrifying finisher are all ways to describe the guys player traits.
Not only is he a Top 3 Player in basketball, his team is the best in the Eastern Conference. With a tremendous supporting cast, Antetokounmpo has led the Bucks to an NBA’s best 19-3 record (so far) and are known as arguably the best team in the East. His numbers consist of what a big man should a double-double in points and rebounds (31-13) along with 6 assists. The scariest part is he’s 25 – and only getting better.
After a long summer of Free Agent signings and blockbuster trades, many pushed aside the Milwaukee Bucks as a true contender in the East. The “ooohs and aaahs” of the new Philly starting 5, Kemba to the Celtics, and Kyrie (and Durant next year) to the Nets, some let Milwaukee fade out of the picture. News flash – Giannis isn’t having it, and he will continue to show with another MVP type season.
(Photo Credit: Dallas News)