NBA 2016 Predictions: Who’s the Real MVP?

With the 2016-17 NBA season upon us, the league has been shaken up with the aftermath of the Kevin Durant move to Oakland along with other moves from Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and others thereafter. And so begins the previews for the teams and predictions for the season. The NBA MVP prediction is always highly debated, and I’ll add to it.

The biggest prediction is the MVP prediction. Last preseason, James Harden was chosen as the favorite to be the MVP and Steph Curry was not even in the top five favorites to defend his reign as MVP, so predictions can be completely wrong, which is going to make this fun. This season’s MVP race will be very entertaining to watch. With that, here are my top five players that are most likely to win MVP.

NBA MVP prediction

Russell Westbrook is in position to dominate in OKC. (Photo: Sporting News)

Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant left for “unselfish” ball. Russell averaged 10.4 assists per game last season and while Durant was responsible for some of those assists being recorded, Westbrook has been able to find his centers and cutting forwards for dump offs whenever he’s bulldozed through a defense and decided to make the pass. There’s no reason he can’t keep doing that, regardless of whether Durant is there or not. Westbrook has an opportunity to do something only one player has ever done in NBA history and that is average a triple-double for the season. Oscar Robertson was the last and only player to accomplish the feat when he carried the Royals throughout the 1961-62 season and he didn’t even win the MVP that season, as Wilt Chamberlain made sure of that (50 points per game on 50% shooting trumped the triple-double season evidently). Russell Westbrook has the talent, skill, vision, and willpower to make the plays and carry his team through the season. Westbrook has been able to post a triple-double on any given night in the past two seasons (lead the league in the last two seasons in the category with 18 and 11) so there’s a possibility he could do it and win the MVP; he’s my pick to win it.

 

NBA MVP prediction

With his move to point guard, James Harden could score even more. (Photo: Sporting News)

James Harden

Two words: Point. Guard. With the new perks of being moved to the point guard position, Harden will have the ball more often in his hands than he already did before. Despite his lack of defense, Harden will carry the Rockets to the playoffs by controlling how the ball gets into the hoop with the assist numbers going up. And as an added bonus, not many point guards are a 6’4” scoring machine so there will be plenty of mismatches in his favor outside of a 6’11” Giannis Antetokoumpo in Milwaukee (who’s going to run point forward for his team).

NBA MVP prediction

King James is fresh off an NBA championship. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

 

LeBron James

Until the King retires from his throne atop the NBA, he will always be in the MVP conversation. With the Cavaliers reloading on the bench, LBJ will need to play a little extra minutes here and there to help the young ones and new ones flourish and develop. Kyrie Irving isn’t a passing point guard so with LeBron playing point forward for stretches of a game, he, like Westbrook, is a walking triple-double waiting to happen. The King will look to continue his reign and lead Cleveland back to the Finals and keep “the Land” on Cloud 9.

 

 

NBA MVP prediction

KD looks to add to the Warriors in an elite way. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

Kevin Durant

He did it. He actually did it…. Ok now that we’ve accepted Durant moving to Golden State, what can we expect from the former MVP now that his is part of the Splash Family? I expect him to be the main focus of the team and Curry to become a pass first point guard rather than showcasing long distance shots with unreal accuracy. Curry allegedly sent a text during KD’s recruitment that he wouldn’t care who the MVP is, that he wanted to win no matter what. Durant is going to be the centerpiece of the newest “death lineup” of the Warriors.

 

 

NBA MVP prediction

Kawhi Leonard’s tenacious defense will always be consistent. (Photo: AP)

Kawhi Leonard

With Tim Duncan retired, I predict that the new face of the well-oiled machine that is the San Antonio Spurs will lead his team in points, steals, and 3-point shooting. He is an elite defender and able to score at will whether he’s looking to or not. Greg Popovich will rely on him to lead his team to the playoffs and beyond. He has game-changing combination of athleticism, length, and skill. He is the definition of “quiet assassin” and could very well be the “Quiet MVP”.

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