Who will be the next NBA MVP?

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By Nicholas Lentini

Every season we as fans wonder who will lead from the pack and become the most valuable player in the NBA (National Basketball Association), this award is given to the player who leads their team to success, while also playing at a high level week in and week out.

Wining this award is very special to the current players who have a chance to win the MVP, as some of the greatest players of all time have won the award on multiple occasions. These legends and hall of farmers include: the all-time leader in winning the MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6 wins), Michael Jordan (5 wins), Bill Russell (5 wins), Whiltchamberlain (4 wins), Moses Malone (3 wins), Larry Bird (3 wins), and Magic Johnson (3 wins).

Below is a list of the Top five players who I believe have the best chance of winning this year’s MVP award.

1. Russell Westbrook

Last season Kevin Durrant was dominating the league night in and night out, he had a crazy stretch of multiple consecutive 30 point plus games. He would eventually win the MVP after having a great 2013-2014 season, but there was always a man in the shadows putting up impressive numbers and helping Durrant, his name is Russell Westbrook.

Before the season started Kevin Durrant was expected to miss a few months with an injury to his foot. A lot of people in the league, and especially the crew from NBA, predicted that in Durrants absence Westbrook would lead the Thunder. Westbrook was having some success but he too would fall under injury, missing some time.

He would come back eventually, having some impressive games in December; namely on Christmas day where he lead the Thunder to a win over the Spurs with an impressive 34 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds.

Once Durrant returned the duo kept up their good performances, but Westbrook stood out with his amazing all around work, drives to the basket, and great passes. This would see the Thunder start to claw back into play-off contention.

But another setback was on the horizon for Durrant and it looked like it would be too much for Westbrook. It seemed that the added pressure and challenge to help OKC (Oklahoma City Thunder) push for that final 8th seed in the deep western conference had lit a fire in the athletic point guard.

He has being amazing in the past month, averaging triple double numbers with 27.7 points along with 11 assists and 11 rebounds. If you thought that was impressive, he has also had 6 triple doubles in his last eight games, including another close triple double recently against the Chicago Bulls; he got 36 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds.

Not only is Westbrook putting up impressive numbers, but he is also helping his side push for that 8th seed (at the moment their record is 37-29, one game ahead of New Orleans), all while the best player in the team, Durrant, has been out injured missing more and more weeks.

In my view a player that can be consistent with incredible numbers night after night against the best teams while leading their team up the western conference, all while their teams leader and best player has been in and out of the side all season, proves that they are truly the MVP of the NBA.

2. Stephen Curry

One half of the splash brothers for Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry has proven to all of the league that he is finally coming in to his prime and showing faith to his organisation, after receiving multiple injury setbacks the son of former sharp NBA shooter, Del Curry, has lived up to all the expectations – after leading his team through back to back play-off appearances for the Warriors. In this time he was improving each season, he’s passing, rebounding, defence and, more importantly, his three point shooter, had reached a level of amazing heights.

So after two seasons of performing well, his team finishing well after the season concluded but falling short in the playoffs, and with new coach, Steve Kerr, at the helm, was this the warriors season?

Well Stephen Curry was out to prove that this season could be the Warriors season, and his status would prove so. He was averaging crazy numbers in only a short amount of time; in some games he would average 25 points and 11 assists in less than 30 minutes. Talk about impressive, Curry didn’t even need to play the whole game to average great numbers.

His passing has been a major reason why he has been so impressive, having good vision as a point guard is important to a team’s success and Curry made it look easy. The Warriors were on a winning streak, and Curry had lead them to a NBA best 52-13 record. He also made another all-star appearance with the most fan votes; with over a million. More importantly, he has had an impressive eight games this season, where he has had 25 points and 11 assists, but if you think that’s impressive; he has also made the most three pointers in NBA history, before the age of 27.

Stephen Curry is a well-deserved top candidate for this year’s MVP.

3. James Harden

The former sixth man of the year for OKC, the now Houston Rocket has stepped into his own since being traded from OKC a couple of years ago. Everyone knew Harden had all the tools you need to be a great player, but the question was would he be able to lead his side to the finals?

 After having a good season in 2013-2014, the Rockets would exit in the first round of the playoffs to the Trail Blazers, many thought that Houston would not be able to go far because of their all offence strategy, one theory was that Harden was all flash and shooting, no defence.

Like any professional basketball player, you want to prove the haters wrong and keep evolving until you reach superstar level status as a player. Harden has done just that this season being in the top three for leading scorers with 26 points per game. He is averaging close to 7-8 assist and rebounds per game, proving that he’s passing is just as good as he’s shooting. But more importantly he has improved in the one area that critics said needed work: his defence, which has improved dramatically from last season – averaging a couple of steals and blocks per game.

Think about this; he is leading a below average team without the team’s best defender and number one centre, Dwight Howard, through the tough Western conference, currently sitting 4th with a record of 44-22.

James Harden’s hard work and endless efforts give him a great chance of winning the award this season, a definite top three chance to be this year’s MVP.

4. Lebron James

After all these years Lebron James is still in MVP talks, the man himself continues to get better and better,  and that’s scary considering all the success he has had in the past, which includes an impressive four MVP awards to his name (two with the Cavs and two with the Heat).

After slimming down in the off-season and having a few weeks off for a few injuries (back pain and knee soreness), Lebron came back with a new fire as he lead from the front for the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, who at the time had a record of 20-20.

Lebron stepped back into the frame and did what he always does; dominate the floor and lead his team to victory. At the time of writing their record stood at 53-29, they have moved to second in the Eastern conference, and won the central division title. You can thank Lebron for that, as he does what he does best; getting his teammates involved and helping them improve their game.

He might have had a late run as of late, but in terms of his impact he should be highly considered for another MVP award, as this season alone he has had eight games where he has had 20 plus points and 10 plus assists. This would tie him with two of the greatest players to play the game; Bill Russell, and the great Michael Jordan.

5. Chris Paul

One of the most consistent point guards in the NBA, Chris Paul has had yet another stellar season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

This man is the definition of the word consistency as each season he maintains a high level of play, his strength is obviously his passing as he’s being in the top three for most assists this season again with 10.1 assists. Not only that, but Paul is a great scorer as well; averaging 18.3 points per game, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on the glass; averaging 4.7 rebounds per game as well. Paul’s ability to find the open man has impressed most, but for me the most impressive thing is seeing the same great plays over and over as I have for many years.

One of the main reasons Paul is in my top five for MVP is similar to why Harden and Lebron are too; it’s because of his ability to lead his team when a major player is out with an injury. While Griffin was out for three weeks with a infected elbow injury, the Clippers were led by their man Chris Paul as he lead them through the tough Western Conference with multiple wins, while also playing at a high level himself; averaging double after double (in points and rebounds).

Paul deserves to be recognised as this seasons MVP due to his years of consistency and his great efforts this season with the Clippers.

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