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The 16-17 MVP Race

Discussion in 'Around The NBA' started by blommen, Dec 17, 2016.

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Who is the MVP of the season so far?

  1. James Harden

    18 vote(s)
    18.8%
  2. Russell Westbrook

    31 vote(s)
    32.3%
  3. LeBron James

    43 vote(s)
    44.8%
  4. Kevin Durant

    1 vote(s)
    1.0%
  5. Kawhi Leonard

    2 vote(s)
    2.1%
  6. Other (specify in thread)

    1 vote(s)
    1.0%
  1. blommen

    blommen Pissing Excellence

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    Okay, so considering how relatively open the race is this year we should probably have a thread about this.

    I can't remember the last time an MVP race has been this open going into the season and to a lesser extent at this far in. At the moment these are the players who I think you could make the argument deserves recognition as the mvp:

    1. James Harden
    Why he's MVP: D'antoni's system has completely re contextualized him as a player and He's playing the best ball of his career while leading a mediocre team without star power to a far better record than you could've expected. Has advanced stats are mindblowing and back up the raw numbers he's putting up in games. Harden recently made the claim that he's the best player in the NBA and while I disagree with him, I think it's hard to argue that he's playing like it right now.

    Why he isn't: His defense is still suspect at best and outright terrible at worst. You also have wonder whether HOU is going to be able to keep up its level of play considering how little star power they actually have on hand.

    2. Russell Westbrook
    Why he's MVP: Putting up arguably the best raw numbers of any player we've seen since Oscar. He also has the narrative of any other player in the league. The fact that his team is also doing better than expected also helps his case.

    Why he isn't: At closer inspection a lot of his numbers lose some of their luster. His advanced metrics simply aren't as good as some of the other players on this list and while OKC is doing relatively well for themselves, their regular season record is going to be hurting his case when compared to other contenders. You also have to wonder if Westbrook will be able to continue at this pace, considering how how hard he plays and how high his usage rate is.

    3. Lebron James
    Why he's MVP: 'Cause this time bitches know. Absolutely reasserted himself as the best player in the world this June and that's going to be hard for people to overlook while he's playing on an absolutely elite team, barring a truly earthshattering claim a la what we saw from Curry last year. Being the top dawg on one of the two best teams in the league and a guaranteed finals spot doesn't hurt either. His consistency is going to help him against guys like Westbrook who you have to imagine will need to come up for air at some point.

    Why he isn't: Statistically not his strongest season, and voter fatigue could still be an issue. The fact he's clearly coasting and conserving himself could also hurt his narrative compared to guys like Westbrook and Harden.

    4. Kevin Durant
    Why he's MVP: Currently at the helm of the greatest offense in NBA history and posting utterly unheard of shooting numbers in terms of efficiency. His defensive numbers are strong as well and the fact that what many thought would be an atrocious defensive team has overachieved in that regard helps his case. Also, best record in the league.

    Why he isn't: the absolute dirt worst narrative of any mvp candidate ever. Tons of people are going to be loathe to vote for him, and IMO deservedly so. There are also the cold hard facts of the matter that he's effectively Joining a two-time mvp and two more all star callibre players, so while he is absolutely the best player on the team, there's a lot of glory that has to be shared. Also, fuck him.

    5. Kawhi Leonard
    Why he's MVP: Beast of a two way player and probably the best defensive player in the league over an entire season. His offensive game hes evolved spectacularly and him into the best two way player in the league (you heard me, Klay), and for the first time in his career he is unequivocally the leader of his team, both on and off the floor. Like LeBron, his consistency is going to help him in staying relevant throughout the season, along with the spurs being its usual 55-65 win self.

    Why he isn't: everyone always forgets the Spurs, and while his numbers are fantastic, he's going to struggle making himself noticed compared to the gaudy performances of the other candidates. If the spurs end up taking the top spot there's a case to be made but that is going to be very hard this year.

    Feel free to bring up other players who should be part of the discussion as the season goes on.
     
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  2. jking948

    jking948 All-Star

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    If Westbrook or Harden get there team to a top-3 seed for the playoffs then that player will win MVP. If not, though, I think it's LBJ's to lose.
     
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  3. blommen

    blommen Pissing Excellence

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    Yeah, I think I'm with you on that one, but I'm just so surprised to see that Harden might actually do it. They are tied with LAC for 3rd in the west right now and I could easily see them overtake them. Harden must be thanking his lucky stars he ended up with D'antoni, the dude has flipped the script completely in the way people talk about Harden compared to the last couple of years.
     
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  4. JMoneyYourHoney

    JMoneyYourHoney NBA Starter

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    I despise Harden but I thought he should have won in 2015...dude dragged a pretty pedestrian team with a persistently-injured Howard to the 2-seed in a brutal Western Conference.

    I agree that it's his to win if the Rockets finish a 3-seed. The thought of Durant winning is puke-inducing.

    LeBron is due a big apology from the league after they were so quick to dismiss him from "best player in the game" discussion. If we maintain the 1-seed with a few signature wins to our credit (taking out GS on Christmas would be big) he has a good shot.
     
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  5. jking948

    jking948 All-Star

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    Harden is the perfect PG for D'Antoni's system. I'd even venture to say that he's a better fit than Nash was. Given one full year of this system I think Houston could be a real contender for a title. But yeah, I totally agree with you, D'Antoni has taken Harden from a "borderline star" with a great offensive game to a superstar with an elite offensive game.

    EDIT: This also goes to show that the idiots who said D'Antoni was a bad coach with a squirrel system were, indeed, morons. The dude was given a roster that could not play his style in LAL, and in New York, given that team's talent, they actually were not half bad. When D'Antoni has players that can run, shoot, and play small-ball, he's a top-5 coach in the NBA.
     
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  6. blommen

    blommen Pissing Excellence

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    I just think it's awesome that the race is as open as it is this year, especially compared to the "ESPN presents: The Steph Curry MVP Love-In™" that transpired last year. Even outside of the main candidates you have a TON of players who just put up incredible numbers and performances like AD, Giannis, Boogie, Butler, etc. This year especially it seems like the young talent of the league has taken a HUGE step forward.
     
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  7. jking948

    jking948 All-Star

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    The other guy in that second tier is Kevin Love. You have the first tier of guys like Harden, Russ, LBJ, KD, and Kawhi - who if they continue their level of play - will be in the conversation at the end of the year. You also have guys like Steph, Love, AD, Giannis, Butler, Boogie, CP3, etc. who - if they fix minor flaws they've had this year - will also be in the conversation at the end. Just an awesome time to be an NBA fan.
     
  8. Marcus

    Marcus Let's go Cabs!

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    Definitely Westbrook if he's able to keep up these numbers (or anything close)... he's doing something that hasn't been done in half a century, and his team is in the playoff hunt despite losing Durant. As long as his team makes the postseason and he doesn't miss any time, it's his to lose, although I do agree Harden makes a compelling case as well, given how well his team has played thus far.

    I don't see LeBron winning it again this year, or perhaps ever again in his career. This isn't to say he isn't the best player in the world (he is), but he's pretty obviously coasting through this season with the rest of the team and he's going to be missing more and more games for rest as the season continues.
     
  9. blommen

    blommen Pissing Excellence

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    If LeBron get MVP, I think it could mainly be seen as the press and the league in general sort of recognizing how much they disrespected him last year with Curry being crowned king of the NBA. That's not to say that he won't be a deserving winner, but I think the narrative around 'Bron having sort of reclaimed his throne with the win in the finals regaining his aura of invulnerability plays a huge part in him winning the MVP.
     
  10. The Wizard of Moz

    The Wizard of Moz Lindorable

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    There is no argument for Durant

    None

    If the Thunder make the playoffs and Russ averages a triple double you have your MVP
     
  11. gourimoko

    gourimoko Fighting the good fight!

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    I think it's LeBron...

    Harden and Westbrook are both playing well but James is playing efficient solid basketball and leading the Eastern Conference. James is demonstrably still better than both of those players in so many facets of the game.

    While Harden and Westbrook are filling up the box score, and I agree, helping their teams generate wins; I think James is quietly dominating.

    Gotta say, looking at the big picture, I'd take LeBron over either of those players.

    James' 25/8/9 comes with best in league defense and the ability to win games purely on his basketball IQ. Harden gives up the other side of the floor entirely, Westbrook is shooting at a 45.8% eFG (LeBron 56.3%).

    For me, both quantitatively and qualitatively; it's LeBron James' year.
     
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  12. godfather

    godfather Hall-of-Famer

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    1.) LeBron
    2.) Harden
    3.) Westbrook

    Agree, but I give it zero chance of it happening. I do think the Rockets might get the 4th seed. I know right now they have the third seed though. I've never liked Harden, and I still don't, but you got to give it up to the guy. He is playing better ball.

    As of now, I think it's pretty close between him and LeBron. As @gourimoko mentions, LeBron is still clearly the most valuable player though. He covers up so many holes on a team, and he's having a very under the radar, brilliant season.

    I don't think Westbrook's team will make the playoffs, personally.

    Maybe they get the 8th seed, given there's some pretty bad teams in the West. But I don't think his team will finish over .500, and triple-double or not, that rules him out.
     
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  13. jking948

    jking948 All-Star

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    I agree here. More of my point was regarding right now. I think Harden has a slight lead currently, even if it's ridiculous because LBJ is straight-up better. It just seems to me that Harden is doing more night-in and night-out (again, obviously LBJ does more for the Cavs, but our team is good enough where he can "chill mode" and we still win; until Houston got Beverly back, they were god awful without Harden).

    Agreed, and ultimately I think this is an academic discussion. I doubt Houston or OKC gets a 3 seed or better... So unless someone really has a surprise second-half, I think it is LBJ's award to lose.

    Only part of your post I (respectfully) disagree with. I'd be down for a $5 gentlemen bet, donated to the site of course, regarding OKC making the playoffs. I understand if you do not want to, though, no hard feelings.
     
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  14. CHIMOCHIS

    CHIMOCHIS LeConned

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    Right now it's the king to lose

    Depends on if he wants it or let's 2nd place get it
     
  15. Rich

    Rich Saucin'

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    I've got Harden. That team has no business being 3rd in the West with a gaudy record. He's the only all-star caliber player on the team and there's no else even close. Second best player is either Trevor Ariza or Clint Capela. 21-7?? That's crazy. I didn't think they'd make the playoffs this season, let alone look like friggin contenders.
     
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