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NBA MVP Race is Closer Than You’d Think

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I have never experienced such a quiet MVP race in any sport as the current one in the NBA. There is little to no discussion on who the MVP will be because it is just assumed it should go to Steph Curry. If he wins it nobody would argue and nobody would be surprised. It is just expected that he will win it and deserves it. I do think he deserves it but it is not a runaway as everyone is making it seem. There are some good candidates having good seasons who are worthy of the MVP trophy. Here are my top three candidates in order on how I would vote.

3. Kawhi Leonard- Kawhi does not get recognized around the league enough for how good he really is and it is because he is coached by one of the best coaches ever and plays with three Spurs legends who were successful before he was there. He doesn’t have the flash that garners the attention of some of the big stars in the league. Kawhi is averaging 21.1 ppg, 2.5 apg and 6.8 rpg. These are solid numbers and some people would say not worthy of an MVP award but that is because this era devalues defense more than any other time in history. Kawhi is the best perimeter defender in the NBA and night in and night out he defends the opposing teams’ best player. He shuts them down and is extremely valuable on both sides of the ball. Greg Popavich compares Kawhi to Michael Jordan and Pop isn’t the type of coach to just throw out that kind of comparison. Kawhi is completely overlooked but is having a MVP type of season.

2. Russell Westbrook- There is so much I could say about Russell Westbrook. If I had to compare him to NBA legends it would be a cross between Jason Kidd and Oscar Robertson. He has 17 triple-doubles this year which is the most since Magic Johnson had 17 in 1988-1989. He is averaging 23.6 ppg, 10.4 apg and 7.8 rpg which is almost a triple-double average. The Thunder are the only team with a legitimate shot of upsetting the Warriors or Spurs and that is because Russell Westbrook is just as great of a player as Kevin Durant and together they are dangerous. Russell Westbrook would be the MVP if the Warriors weren’t challenging the Bulls record for most wins in the season.

1. Steph Curry- Turn on the television and just watch the guy play. Its majestic and beautiful to watch Steph move a basketball with both passes and shots. He can pull up from half court and drain a three. He hits game winners and smiles while doing it. His teammates take off running down the court when the ball leaves his hand because they know it is going to be made. He is leading the Warriors to one of the greatest seasons in the history of the NBA. He is averaging 30 ppg and he sits most fourth quarters. He deserves the MVP but the race is closer than people will like to admit.

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