FOR the first time in a while, we might be in for a decent MVP race. The reigning champs in Russell Westbrook and James Harden are nowhere to be seen (yet), with generation next starting to emerge as serious contenders. Two or three hot games can swings things in a players favour early on and time will tell who will hold down a regular rung in the MVP ladder.
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Honourable Mentions: Joel Embiid, LeBron James (huh?), Andre Drummond, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton
10. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (5-1)
Season Stats: 29.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 5.8 APG; 55.6 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 93.9 FT%
IT’S crazy to say that a guy who’s 6th in the league at scoring might be the second best player on his team, but this is the world we live in. The loaded Warriors are off to an as expected fast start with their only hiccup coming against Denver on the road. That also happened to be KD’s lowest scoring performance (20) of the year to date.
9. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets (3-3)
Season Stats: 30.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.7 APG; 49.2 FG%, 45.3 3P%, 84.8 FT%
OUT of the gates, no player was hotter than Kemba Walker with the Hornets guard setting an NBA record for made three’s with 19. It’s worth pointing out that Kemba chucked up 38 attempts and his team is still sitting at .500. He’ll need to pile up the wins if he wants to climb the rungs.
8. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers (3-1)
Season Stats: 31.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.8 APG; 47.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 90.7 FT%
WE’VE become accustomed to numbers like this from Dame Lillard. His Blazers took down LeBron in their first game and last night, they blew out Orlando with Dame Dolla going off for 41. I thought this Blazers team might slide in the competitive West, but they are clicking at the moment thanks to their franchise star.
Image from oregonlive.com
7. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors (6-0)
Season Stats: 19.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 10.3 APG; 57.5 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 80.0 FT%
EVER since he arrived in Toronto Kyle Lowry has been an A- point guard for them, until playoff time at least. Through the Raps first six games though Lowry is thriving with Kawhi by his side, pacing the league with a career-high 10.3 assists a night. Toronto seems to have found another gear and if they can add to the 59 wins they had last year there’s no reason why Lowry won’t be on the ladder all season.
6. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (4-1)
Season Stats: 23.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 6.2 APG; 59.1 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%
WE might have known Nikola Jokic was capable of stepping into the spotlight like this well before he was. That being said, this on defense from the Nuggets in the last fortnight was not expected. Jokic has been solid on D which is a nice plus, but his passing game is what continues to wow highlighted by a ridiculous 35/11/11 triple-double earlier this year against Phoenix.
5. Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors (5-1)
Season Stats: 33.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.0 APG; 55.1 FG%, 52.7 3P%, 92.0 FT%
IF Steph is going to win a 3rd MVP trophy then this might be his last chance. Golden State seems all but certain to pace the league in wins, with any of their All-Stars capable of lighting it up nightly. Curry only needed three quarters to dominate Washington on Wednesday, hitting 11 treys for 51 points. More box scores like that will only help his case.
4. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (6-0)
Season Stats: 26.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 APG; 55.0 FG%, 45.5 3P%, 92.0 FT%
OVER the last 12 months the NBA community, to some extent, forgot how good Kawhi Leonard is at basketball. After playing in only nine games in his final Spurs season, Leonard already looks like himself again through five matches, especially on defense. We’ll see how his mood shifts as the winter hits Toronto but at this rate, winning might cure everything.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (5-0)
Season Stats: 25.8 PPG, 15.6 RPG, 6.6 APG; 48.1 FG%, 0.63 3P%, 72.2 FT%
I had Giannis tabbed as first in these rankings before I really dived into the numbers. Last night he missed the chance to be the only player to start the season with five straight 25 point, 15 rebound performances, as his video game box scores continue to trend on Twitter. Not all is good though with Giannis gathering fouls like crazy and shooting just 1-16 from 3-point land doesn’t help his cause. His success to start the season can also due attributed to Coach Bud revolutionising this Milwaukee offense. All this taken into consideration, this dude is literally capable of anything.
Image from nbcsports.com
2. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons (4-0)
Season Stats: 33.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 5.0 APG; 55.7 FG%, 65.2 3P%, 66.7 FT%
BLAKE Griffin is playing like a man on a mission right now. With Dwane Casey taking the reigns, Griffin is thriving with the ball in his hands chalking up the highest usage rate of his career in the process. He deserves all the credit in the world, especially following the tough win against Philly without Andre Drummond. Now all eyes will be on his game against Boston tonight.
1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (4-0)
Season Stats: 27.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.8 APG; 52.1 FG%, 57.1 3P%, 70.7 FT%
THE player who is leading the league in +/- is a fair bet to the MVP front-runner right now. It helps when that guy is a force on both ends of the court, leading the league in blocks a game with a crazy 3.8 right now. Throw in 2.5 steals and nearly 10 defensive rebounds a game and Davis might also be the front-runner for the Defensive Player of the Year award too. However, (stop me if you’ve heard this before) a weird elbow injury is keeping him out of tonight’s game and I’m praying it’s nothing we need to keep our eye on. Watch this space.