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10 candidates for the 2016 - 2017 MVP Award

Published by Axel on 25th August - 20:14 (CET)
Yes, predictions! Who's your front runner for the MVP award in the upcoming season?

Let's take a look at 10 guys who if healthy should have a chance of getting it.
Reigning MVP Steph Curry comes off one of the most impressive regular season performances we've ever seen and will probably be a candidate for the award every season in the next decade.

I don't even need to list all his season accolades. The only real question here is if he's going to be able to repeat the same feat while sharing the ball with Kevin Durant? Realistically, I say he doesn't.
So what about Kevin Durant then?

After a injury plagued 2014 - 2015 season where he only managed to play 27 games and ended up with a foot surgery Durant comes of a great 2015 - 2016 season.

Playing 35.8 minutes per game in 72 games KD bested his career average in almost every category and ended up with 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds (career high), 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting .505 in field goal percentage and .388 in three point field goal percentage.

Apart for the scoring that's about the same stats as he had during his MVP season in 2014, and he still finished 3rd in points per game this season, only trailing Steph Curry and James Harden.

With that in mind I think it's very likely that Durant will have another impressive season, but just as for Steph it's going to be hard to keep those numbers sharing the glory with the Golden State All-Stars
Among all the dimensions, alternate timelines and all that shit that makes you crazy, I bet there is no timeline where LeBron James is not a front runner for the MVP award.

He had one of his usual I-don't-really-care-that-much-but-I'm-still-the-best-player-regular seasons where he kind of coasted through until he unleashed the beast in the playoffs, beating the team who just had the best regular season of all time.

So the question here is if we'll get to see coasting-LeBron or monster-LeBron during the regular season.
He's getting older, and perhaps wiser by taking it easy during the regular season, but maybe, just maybe we'll get to see him go ham with the motivation of beating the super team in the west.
There are not many players who can do what Paul George have done. When he broke his leg in the most gruesome way possible playing for Team USA in the 2014 offseason, there were many who though he never would be able to come back to what he once was.

George proved them wrong, and after missing all but six games of the 2014 - 2015 season he played 81 games in the previous season, averaging 23.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.9 steals and .4 blocks per game in 34.8 minutes.

PG13 is back, but if he's going to be a real contender for the award he needs to either play a bit more efficient - which is hard with the offensive help he's got with the Pacers - and up his numbers or get Indiana Pacers one of the top seeds in the East.

Can he do it? If LeBron takes it easy... Who knows?
Russell Westbrook's stats are just off the charts. He comes of a season averaging 23.5 points, 7.8 assists, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and .3 blocks per game. He's had more triple doubles (29) the previous two seasons than the Philadelphia 76ers have W's (28)...

He also finished 4th in the MVP award last season, that while sharing the floor with the guy who finished 5th. It's almost scary thinking about what he'll average as the only true star.

He might drop a bit in the assist category without a KD who could bail any point guard out at any given moment, but as last time Durant wasn't playing it probably means that his scoring will go up close to 30 points per game again.

Russell's only issue will be the Thunder themselves. Will they be able to get a seeding good enough to justify an MVP award?
James Harden just had the best season of his career, averaging 29 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.7 steals and .6 blocks per game.

But Harden has a problem. Because of his terrible defense (yes, it still is) and theatre manners on the court he seems to be somewhat disliked by the voters.

As an example, just this season he became the first player ever to average at least 29 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds during a season and still not being selected to any All-NBA Team.
Like, not even to the third team?!

If he's able to improve his defense it's impossible to keep ignoring him, but perhaps he also needs to quit his acting and hire a PR manager of some kind.
Anthony Davis had a good season. Not the one everybody was expecting, but it was still impressive for someone who's still in his early 20's.

Davis averaged 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting .493 from the field. It's a bit worse than his previous season, but Anthony still showed that he's willing to improve as he added a three point shot to his arsenal.

Davis have had problems with injuries ever since he entered the league, never finishing a season playing more than 68 games. While that might likely stay the same for someone who's 6.10' and plays such an athletic game, he is still one of the most dominant big men's in the league when he's on the floor.

Unfortunately he suffers the same issue as Russell Westbrook. Perhaps even worse as it is very unlikely that the Pelicans will be good enough for one of their players to receive the MVP award.
9-time All-Star Chris Paul has for long been considered one of the best point guards to have ever played the game, and even at age 31 he is still one of the best playmakers in the league.

He had a strong 2015 - 2016 season, finishing 6th in the voting for the MVP award while averaging 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 10.0 assists. 2.1 steals and .2 blocks per game, having great advanced stats.

Unfortunately he fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand late in the season, missed some games and had to undergo surgery.

He will have to bounce back even stronger if he's going to have any real chance at the award.
Damian Lillard got snubbed of his 2016 All-Star game appearance, got mad and went into beast mode.

He ended up averaging 25.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists, .9 steals and .4 blocks per game while making the All-NBA Second Team and shocking most by taking the Trail Blazers, who just lost All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge to a 5th seed and the Western Conference Semifinals.

After playing the best season of his career you could only hope that the 26 year-old keeps developing like he recently has. He needs to if he wants to bring home the award.
Kawhi Leonard. He might be the best bet for the award as he finished 2nd behind Curry in 2015 - 2016.

Leonard averaged 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while again being awarded as the best defender in the league, taking home the Defensive Player of the Year award back-to-back.

Apart from being an outstanding defender his offense improved a lot during the previous season and he's now the solidified star player of San Antonio Spurs.

It wouldn't be that surprising if Leonard is the one to win the 2016 - 2017 MVP award.

There might be others like Blake Griffin, Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge who could be worth mentioning, but I think this will do for now.

So for any of those players who wants to win the prestigious award, you better do it quick, because winter Karl-Anthony Towns is coming!

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