Year in and year out there are arguments in NBA circles about who should win the Most Valuable Player award. There’s a name in that discussion that you will always hear compelling arguments for, and it is LeBron James. No one quite knows the criteria the voters go by to make these difficult decisions. This year more than others past, there seems to be no clear-cut favorite.
Let’s take a look at the definition of the word valuable. According to Dictionary.com, the definition is having considerable monetary worth; costing or bringing a high price. By that definition, the most valuable player in the NBA over the past 14 years is without a doubt LeBron James. We all remember Nike signing LeBron to a $90 Million dollar contract before he played one single professional game. Since than it has been reported that James had signed a $1 Billion dollar lifetime deal with the apparel brand. After joining the Miami Heat in 2010, According to Forbes, the Cavaliers franchise lost 26% of their total worth. But, that’s not what the award is based on.
From all my years following the NBA, I’ve always felt the MVP award should be named the MOP award for Most Outstanding Player. The winners have always been rewarded for having the most outstanding statistical season. It has to be known that these statistics must lead to victories. Now, lets look at a few of the league’s top candidates.
If this doesn't convince you that Russell Westbrook is the MVP of the NBA then I don't know what will pic.twitter.com/MO428nS7cF— Group Sports Network (@GSNtweets) March 28, 2017
On the season, Westbrook is averaging 31.4 PPG 10.5 RPG and 10.4 APG, on pace to average the first Triple-Double since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62. This statistical marvel should be applauded for the tremendous season he has put together, although shooting 42.3% from the floor. But, if these statistics didn’t grant a starting position in the All-Star game, chances are they won’t be good enough for the league’s most coveted player award either. The Oklahoma City Thunder currently are 42-31 and 6th in the Western Conference.
Having the best season of his 6 year career, Kawhi Leonard is averaging 26.0 PPG 5.9 RPG and 3.5 APG. Leading the Spurs so far this season to a 57-16 record, Leonard is making a strong case for the award. The season that we are currently witnessing is littered with great individual performances. If not for the next candidate, he may well have been en route to his first MVP crown.
James Harden with the MVP race dagger? pic.twitter.com/txOlXPHLIh— Lebron James Harden (@lbjamesharden) March 26, 2017
The hiring of Mike D’Antoni has been a PED shot for the career of the already talented James Harden. Before the season, coach D’Antoni was quoted saying, “Hopefully, he’ll double his number of assists, and he had seven or eight [7.5] last year,” D’Antoni said. “I hope he can double that. He’s one of the best passers I’ve been around.” At the time Harden laughed, but I guarantee he didn’t quite envision this much success after switching over to the point guard position. Posting 19 Triple-Doubles and averaging a staggering 29.4 PPG 11.4 APG and 8.0 RPG Harden is this year’s Most Outstanding Player. Leading the Rocket’s to a 51-22 record, good for third in the association, Harden will win his first MVP.
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