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Handicapping a 2016-17 NBA Most Valuable Player Race

Last season, after heading his Golden State Warriors to a many wins in an NBA unchanging season, Stephen Curry became a initial actor to ever be unanimously voted a league’s Most Valuable Player. It was a 13th time that a endowment was won by a same actor in back-to-back years, and now, this season, he will try to join a likes of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as a usually players in a story of a joining to win a endowment 3 times in a quarrel – with Bird final completing a singular trifecta in 1986.

The contingency might be built opposite Curry, though. The Warriors might be pretension favorites, yet that doesn’t indispensably meant that he or his new teammate in Kevin Durant will travel divided from this deteriorate with a distinction. That’s tough to trust deliberation Durant and Curry have sum to win a final 3 MVP awards, yet a law is that they will expected harm one another’s cause.

Or will they?

Basketball Insiders handicaps a competition for a 2016-17 NBA season’s Most Valuable Player Award.

The Contenders

Chris Paul (Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers)

There are a satisfactory volume of people who trust that Chris Paul deserved a Most Valuable Player Award over Kobe Bryant behind in 2008. Paul superbly led a frugally gifted New Orleans Hornets group to 56 wins and a second seed in a Western Conference. They finished one diversion behind Bryant’s Lakers and Paul finished adult finishing a apart second to Bryant after a votes had been tallied.

Still, a Clippers will enter a deteriorate as a favorite to finish in a tip 3 out West, and with a stretch between a contenders in a discussion and a reduce row teams clearly apropos greater, a Clippers should have a comparatively easy time eclipsing 55 wins. That is, of course, presumption they stay healthy.

In years past, there has been some-more and some-more courtesy given to Blake Griffin, and deservedly so, yet after losing Paul during final year’s initial round, a Clippers folded like a inexpensive suit. Subliminally, that might have a outcome of Paul’s viewed value being restored. If he backs that adult simply by doing what he has finished for a Clippers recently (he has averaged over 19 points and 10 assists per diversion for any of a past 3 seasons), he might emerge as a front runner.

All things considered, if a Thunder don’t win 50 games and a Warriors don’t win 70, Paul (or LeBron James) could finish adult winning a endowment by default, almost.

LeBron James (Small Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)

Stephen Curry might be in a using to turn usually a fourth actor to win a endowment 3 uninterrupted times, yet James is a usually actor aside from Bill Russell to have indeed won a endowment 4 times in 5 years. James won a endowment in 2009 and 2010 as a member of a Cleveland Cavaliers before agreeable a endowment to Derrick Rose in 2011. James followed that by winning a endowment in 2012 and 2013, with any of those seasons finale with a Miami HEAT championship.

James is now during a age where he will pitch-count himself over a march of a prolonged season, yet with Curry and Durant carrying teamed up, removing a Cavaliers north of 60 wins would positively outcome in James receiving during slightest a few first-place votes. Although final season’s 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists were distant from his many considerable statistical season, he has a lot left in a tank and seems staid to take home a endowment for a fifth time. That is, of course, presumption he wants it.

Russell Westbrook (Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder)

The Most Valuable Player Award is typically awarded to someone whose group achieves good success. It’s formidable to suppose Westbrook win a award, yet manners were meant to be broken.

In all honesty, let’s usually contend for argument’s consequence that Westbrook is means to record 25 triple-doubles this entrance season. If he does that and a Thunder win 47 games, depending on how other things shake out, many electorate would cruise him. Now, usually suppose that a Thunder somehow win 52 games. The suspicion might seem overly optimistic, yet Westbrook has a plain ancillary expel and remember, a Thunder managed to win 45 games during a 2014-15 season. That happened with a weaker ancillary expel and Kevin Durant personification in all of 27 games.

Everyone loves an underdog. And a theatre has been set for Westbrook to emerge as a front runner.

Kawhi Leonard (Small Forward, San Antonio Spurs)

Tim Duncan might have motionless to call it a career, yet with Gregg Popovich still job a shots in San Antonio, design a Spurs to be in a brew in a end. At this point, nobody remembers, yet final season, during 65-12, a Spurs had a legitimate shot to go for 70 wins. Popovich apparently opted not to, yet sufficient to contend a Spurs are a unequivocally good team. Although Duncan will be missed, he played usually 25 mins per diversion and averaged reduction than 9 points per contest. In all likelihood, Pau Gasol will be means to reinstate his production.

If a Spurs get anywhere nearby 65 wins this season, don’t be astounded to see Leonard removing a lot of MVP love. That is, of course, presumption he improves on final season’s 21.2 points per game.

Stephen Curry (Point Guard, Golden State Warriors)

The bar has been set impossibly high for a Warriors, it’s roughly not even fair. If this group is able of winning 73 games yet Kevin Durant, what would it take for them to surpass expectations this season?

The answer there? It’s a pretence question. It’s substantially not probable for a Warriors to surpass expectations this season, yet that doesn’t meant that it’s unfit for Curry to indeed measure what many would cruise an dissapoint by winning a Most Valuable Player Award for a third uninterrupted year. If he comes tighten to final season’s 30.1 points per diversion and gets a Warriors to 70 wins, afterwards a voters, out of principle, will expected climax Curry a MVP again.

The problem in it all is that zero will give we some-more viewpoint than winning a MVP endowment and winning a record-setting 73 games, usually to come adult brief when it matters most. In all likelihood, a Warriors will remove their initial diversion of a deteriorate during a initial week and conduct into a All-Star mangle with some-more than a few losses. Still, where there’s a Curry, there’s a way, so we wouldn’t bonus his chances completely.

The Second Tier

James Harden (Point Guard, Houston Rockets): The pierce to indicate ensure will substantially assistance Harden’s numbers, and that’s frightful deliberation final season’s 29 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists were already out of this world. The regard with Harden will be corralling adequate votes if his group doesn’t win adequate games. Do we consider a Rockets have adequate talent to win 50 games out West? If not, it would take a ideal charge for Harden to travel divided as MVP.

Kevin Durant (Small Forward, Golden State Warriors): Without question, a trans-generational talent. The usually regard is that he is ignored in Oakland. In all likelihood, his potency will skyrocket, yet unless he does something tremendous, he will expected be penalized a same proceed that LeBron James was in his initial deteriorate with a Miami HEAT. A satisfactory series of electorate didn’t opinion for James simply since of a assistance he had. What would it take for Durant to overcome that form of bias?

Paul George (Small Forward, Indiana Pacers): Once a defensive-first team, a Indiana Pacers have a new conduct manager and, frankly, a new identity. What Paul George has operative in his favor, though, is a fact that he has talent flanking him and he is entrance off of what is arguably his excellent statistical season. It’s tough to see a Pacers doing adequate repairs for George to kick out a likes of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Stephen Curry, yet honour is due.

Anthony Davis (Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans): Agreed, Anthony Davis hasn’t finished most for us lately, yet he did finish fifth in MVP voting for a 2014-15 season. The Pelicans have a lot of work to do, yet there are few players in a diversion who are able of creation an impact on both ends utterly like Davis. Fear a brow; if he’s healthy, he will expected be an MVP-caliber performer. But are a Pelicans even a playoff team?

Damian Lillard: (Point Guard, Portland Trail Blazers): The Trail Blazers positively won’t be unctuous adult on anyone this entrance season, generally not after spending truckloads to build out a talent bottom surrounding Lillard and C.J. McCollum. There are utterly a few that don’t even design a Blazers to win a Northwest Division this year, so if they conduct to overachieve again, don’t be astounded for Lillard to accomplish a singular attainment of going from All-Star impugn to MVP contender.

Honorable Mention:

Kyrie Irving (Point Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers): Never contend never, yet it’s formidable to see Irving anticipating a proceed to shroud LeBron James.

Carmelo Anthony (Small Forward, New York Knicks): Call it a catch-22, yet for a Knicks to proceed a win sum compulsory for Carmelo to get consideration, they would need a ancillary expel to play out of their mind, that would lessen ‘Melo’s credit.

Blake Griffin (Power Forward, Los Angeles Clippers): If he is a team’s alpha-male and takes playmaking vigour off of Chris Paul, watch out!

DeMarcus Cousins (Center, Sacramento Kings): When you’re giving us 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, we caring reduction about your team’s win total. We got adore for you.

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