Western Courier

Look out for early NBA MVP favorites

Preston Bubb, Courier Staff

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We have seen the rise of many stars to begin the 2017-2018 season, Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid, Minnesota Timberwolf Karl Anthony Towns and Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo are just a few of them. Many veterans have also started the season off well; Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James, Houston Rocket James Harden and Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant have been playing well and look to repeat their past success.

These star players are all competing to win the award league MVP. As of right now the MVP race looks like it will be between the young gun, Antetokounmpo, last year’s runner up, Harden and veteran James. All three players have something to prove and will stop at nothing to take home the award.

Throughout this season, one new player has stuck out over the other rising stars, Antetokounmpo. He has started with an outstanding stat line of 29.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. This is Antetokounmpo’s fourth year in the NBA and he is already putting up MVP level stats. Although, Las Vegas has the odds of Antetokounmpo winning MVP at 8-1 and James as the favorite to win. Antetokounmpo can keep performing at this level he will be a serious contender. Antetokounmpo is the star player of the Milwaukee Bucks, he didn’t have much support from the rest the team, but with the addition of Eric Bledsoe they can now capitalize on the pick to greatly elevate Antetokounmpo’s playing and scoring ability. With the support from Thon Maker the Milwaukee Bucks 2016 draft pick keeps the defense spread out. This gives Antetokounmpo the space he needs to get in the paint. At the height of 6-foot-11, his blocking abilities also enable him to play a big part in his team’s defense. Antetokounmpo has the skill set to greatly affect all aspects of the game. This helps him put up huge numbers every game in both offense and defense stats.

The veteran contender for this year’s MVP is James. This should come to no surprise for any NBA fan. James already has four MVP trophies under his belt and this year, James has something to prove. He wants to put one last stamp on his already outstanding career as an NBA future Hall-of-Famer. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ season has been hit by several injuries, which has benched some of their star players. James has once again put the team on his back and has put up an outstanding 28.2 points per game. He has led the Cavaliers to the longest winning streak in franchise history with 13 straight wins. This level of play from James is something we have seen before, but it is surprising that even though James is 32, he is still competing at the level he played at 4 years ago. This very well could be the year  that James wins his fifth league MVP and ties NBA legends Michael Jordan and Bill Russell for most MVP awards. But before that happens, he needs to beat out one of last year’s contenders, Harden.

The Houston Rockets have had an outstanding season so far and that can be credited to their star player Harden. Last season, he was a favorite to win MVP but was beat out by Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple double and broke the record for most triple doubles in a season. James Harden has averaged over 30 points per game so far this season, he has also led the Rockets to the number one seed in the Western Conference over the Warriors, which is no small task. This wouldn’t be surprising especially if he keeps being an offensive All-Star and finishes the season averaging 30 points per game.

Whether Antetokounmpo can keep competing at this level, and if James can add another all-star season onto his already Hall of Fame career, or Harden can keep scoring a high number of points, this MVP race will be one for the books. Rising star versus NBA veteran versus scoring leader, this will be an exciting season for all three players and it will be even better to see these players battle the rest of the season and possibly even meet in the playoffs.

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Look out for early NBA MVP favorites