Written By: Tristan Wentworth
Word Count: 678
After an action-packed offseason here is an early look at MVP candidates heading into 2017-18. Taking the updated oddschecker numbers into account I categorized next years contenders as: Favorites, Middle-of-the-Pack, and Dark Horse.
Kevin Durant (4/1)
Santiago Mejia/ The Chronicle
Kevin Durant is the best player on the best team in the NBA. After a historic 16-1 postseason record, the Warriors reloaded this offseason by resigning Curry, Iguodala, Livingston and Durant. KD is still only 28 and remains in his prime.
Following a foot injury in the 2014-15 season, and a knee scare late last year, Durant responded in the Finals putting up 35/8/5 while shooting an other-worldly 56% from the field and 47% from 3, none more important than this one.
Durant remains the most gifted offensive player in the league and with a healthy season on another 65+ win team, he leads the MVP crop heading into next year.
Lebron James (5/1)
LBJ has shown no signs of slowing down.
He’s been to 7 straight finals.
He’s coming off a career highs in boards and assists, and he has improved roster depth to work with after the Kyrie trade.
Lebron is still the best player on the planet and should be an MVP favorite for the foreseeable future.
Kawhi Leonard (4/1)
The Spurs as usual head into next year with looming questions about their age and attrition. Aldridge has regressed, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are at the end of their careers, and the supporting cast remains questionable.
However, Kawhi remains constant.
Leonard is perhaps the most consistent two-way force in the league, and he’s still improving at age 26. If the Spurs claim a top seed in the West don’t be surprised to see Kawhi claim his MVP hardware.
Russell Westbrook (6/1)
Russ is coming off a historic year where he averaged a triple double while leading the league in scoring with over 30 points a night. With newly acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony , the Thunder should take a step forward into the upper echelon of the league.
Although Westbrook may see his stats decline, his efficiency could improve with added big-time players, and perhaps that could be enough to propel him to back-to-back MVP.
Becoming the fifth player ever to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, Giannis was last season’s most improved player.
At 6’ 10” he has the physical tools to be the best player in the league in a couple years.
Giannis still has years to go before he reaches his prime, but if the Bucks make another leap in the East next year Giannis could be our regular season MVP.
Harden has solidified himself as an MVP candidate over the past 3 years, and after barely getting edged out by Westbrook last year, he has a chance to take over the title for himself.
Playing on one of the most potent offenses in the league next to a dynamic playmaker in Chris Paul, the beard could improve upon his already ridiculously high 29 points a game and solidify himself as the best offensive player in the league warranting MVP consideration.
How could a unanimous MVP still be underrated?
Just ask Steph yourself.
In the 2017 finals Curry averaged 27 points, 8 boards, 9 assists, 2 steals, including a 32 point triple double in Game 2. Curry is still the best shooter ever. He remains one of the most lethal players in the paint despite being just 6’ 3”. Yet, people are still caught up on Kevin Durant joining the Warriors and Curry’s “defensive issues.”
Perhaps this year voters will ignore the outside noise and appreciate Curry’s greatness by by awarding him the MVP for being the efficient, freakish, anomaly he is.
John Wall (28/1)
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Wall being this far down the list makes absolutely no sense. Last year he averaged 23 points, 11 assists, and 4 boards while leading the Wizards to an impressive 17 game home winning streak.
Wall still struggles to shoot from 3, but with his prime still ahead of him there’s no reason why he can’t win an MVP on a talented, young Wizards roster even as soon as next year.