Eventually someone will dethrone LeBron James of his MVP dominance, right?
The King has won it back-to-back, twice, altogether four out of the last five years. It really should’ve been five years in a row, and it would’ve been had it not been for “The Decision”.
Granted, Derrick Rose was very deserving during that year (I guess).
However, if the pattern continues, this is the year when the voters will “reward” another player – other than LeBron – for their high play. Let’s get ahead of the curve, real ahead of it (it’s barely September?).
Here are my “others” that I think have a “chance” at “dethroning” the King in the MVP race this season…
AKA the second best baller on the planet. Durant is always going to be in the conversation for MVP, I really thought he was going to win it last season but I forgot that LeBron James isn’t human.
During his last three seasons, he significantly has gotten better in different aspects of his game. At this point, there isn’t much separating Durant and LeBron on the part of skill level. LeBron has about 50 pounds on him, though, which makes him look so much more imposing.
Look for Durant to average somewhere around 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game next season. He will once again lead his Oklahoma City Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference and – barring any injuries – to the NBA Finals.
He’s got a pretty good chance to dethrone LeBron – even if it’s just for one season.
Anytime someone comes back from any type of significant injury, it’s a good story. Especially when said player performs well. This is exactly where Derrick Rose has the opportunity to take advantage.
We’ve heard the jokes, but now he’s officially slated to return to the court (we think). If he can, somehow, lead the Chicago Bulls to a top seed in the Eastern Conference, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t rise to the top in the MVP race. He’s done it before (2010-11) and his comeback story will only help his cause.
The Los Angeles Clippers are going to be loaded this year. A good formula for looking for viable MVP candidates are finding the best player on the best team, this year, that could be Chris Paul. If the Clippers play as well as they look on paper, Paul could very well be in contention to snag an MVP award away from one of the favorites.
If the Clippers do something historic, look for Paul to finish in the top-3, at least.
Paul will also have to do something historic individually, but will all the talent around him that might be asking a little too much. He’ll be in contention, I’m just not sure he’ll be able to sway enough voters. Plus, he’ll probably end up splitting votes with Blake Griffin.
The upcoming season may be too soon for Dwight Howard, but he’s just too good of a player to leave him out of this list. Especially, when he’s joining a team that is going to have a say in the Western Conference Finals.
If Howard could get this Houston Rockets team over the hump (maybe finish in the top-3 in the west) I believe that he deserves to receive some consideration, although, it’s going to be tough. Howard is going to get the LeBron James post-decision treatment all throughout this season.
Howard is going to have a huge year – he’s finally going to be fully healthy again. I just don’t think he’ll warrant the respect he deserves. He should be higher on this list, but you won’t let him.
It’s sad to see Kobe so low on this list, but it’s the reality of his career now. He’s going to comeback strong, no question. My only concern is if he’s going to have enough pieces around him to give him the push he needs. No one is going to win an MVP award on a .500 team, if the Los Angeles Lakers are that.
Kobe is going to put up gaudy numbers, especially for a player at his age (35). I just don’t think it’ll be enough for him to carry his team. He just doesn’t have that kind of an effect on a team anymore.
Today, we live in an NBA where you need more than one star to make serious noise. The Lakers don’t have that right now, but I’m giving Kobe the respect he deserves and am not counting him out. He gets a spot here.
And for my dark horse MVP candidate: Paul George. He’s not the flashiest of picks, but he’s a pretty darn good player – and only getting better. He went toe-to-toe with LeBron James in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals — many believe that if he demands the ball more he could put up numbers that rival the King’s.
Even if he does all that, though, he still is at a disadvantage because of where he plays. Indiana doesn’t scream an MVP town. I don’t know anyone in America who would see this coming if in fact George actually won the MVP, but if he played for Miami or LA he would definitely get some love.
The only way he will get serious consideration will be if the Pacers break some sort of regular season record. I’m not sure they can get the Chicago Bulls 72 wins or a 30-plus winning-streak, but it’s always fun to draw the line somewhere.
On the court, there’s not a huge difference between LeBron and George, but on paper, and in MVP rankings, it’s not even close.