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Dark Horses to Win NBA MVP

Steph Curry Scores Career-High 62 Points

The race for the 2021 MVP is heating up. This season, it looks like it’ll be won by a center. Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are the heavy favorites to win the award. If one of them does, it’ll be the first time in each of their careers winning MVP.

With the favorites, there’s some dark horses that might have an underlying chance at winning Most Valuable Player. In this article, TGH is taking a look at players who could be dark horses at winning the MVP this year.

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry has been on a role this season. He’s proved many things, including his ability to lead. The Warriors have almost the same roster as they did last year, and with Curry’s play, they’ve been able to stay around the .500 mark the whole season.

Dark Horses to win MVP
Image Courtesy of Thearon W. Henderson/ Getty Images

They’re currently in the ninth spot in the West, which is in place for a play-in spot.

As for Curry, statistically, he’s just as good as his previous MVP’s. He’s currently averaging 31 points per game, which is a whole point higher than when he won his unanimous MVP. His assist and steal numbers aren’t as high as where they were when he won MVP the two other times.

What’s important to note is Steph Curry is doing everything he can to keep the Warriors afloat and make the playoffs. He’s averaging his highest point per game average of his career so far. What might hurt him in the voting is that voters consider team success, and Golden State isn’t so hot.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard is the most underrated player in the league. It always seems that he never gets enough credit when credit is due. Portland is in the midst of the top eight teams, and quite frankly, are a team that should be feared in the playoffs.

Dark Horses to win MVP
Image Courtesy of Zach Beeker/Getty Images

But what makes Portland so scary every year? It’s because of one man: Damian Lillard. Lillard is never hurt, and he’s always leading Portland in some way, whether that be in the regular season or post season.

This season is no different. Lillard is averaging just under 30 points per game, chipping in almost eight assists and shooting an efficient 38 percent from three.

Why not give the man his credit? Lillard is never in MVP talks because Portland is never the talk of the league. Everyone always talks about the Lakers, Knicks, LeBron James or Kevin Durant because those teams and players bring more headlines.

Well, it’s time to give credit to a man that stuck with one franchise for his whole career. Damian Lillard deserves to be in the conversation, not only because of how great and how clutch of a player he is, but because of his leadership and loyalty.

James Harden

James Harden has had a crazy season. He went from playing on one of the worst teams in the NBA to playing on one of the best.

Dark Horses to win MVP
Image Courtesy of mainbasket.com

With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant being regular scratches for games this season, Harden has more than stepped up in his leadership role on the team.

First, Brooklyn has been among the top two teams in the East this year. James Harden has been consistently the Nets best player on the court, and it shows. He’s averaging his career high 11 assists per game, along with a career high 8.7 rebounds per game.

He’s elevated the Nets to another level since Durant and Irving are out, and when they are playing, he adjusts to his role accordingly. James Harden’s contribution to Brooklyn is underrated this season, and that’s why he’s a dark horse MVP candidate.

All stats were taken from ESPN.com and basketballreference.com.

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