Harden has missed out on the reward, coming in second place the last couple seasons, but this may be his year. The addition of Chris Paul promises to elevate his game and lighten his ball handling responsibilities, so this could be his breakthrough year. Still, the addition of a high-caliber all-star in Paul could steer votes elsewhere.
King James has went a few seasons without the award and this year because of the Kyrie Irving drama he will have a extra pep in his step. He isn’t as quick and he doesn’t jump as high as he use too but he is still the best player in the game--his stat line supports the crown. While other players match his scoring almost no one can do that while posting his rebound and assist numbers. Also with new addition Isaiah Thomas rumored to miss more time, the early season could belong to LeBron.
The fiercest competitor in the NBA by far, Westbrook will come into this season with a chip on his shoulder. He has some help now in Paul George and while this will affect his triple-double numbers it will boost his team’s win total. Winning has always been important in the MVP race and the Thunder are set to win more games than last season. Westbrook’s turnovers and poor decision-making could lose him votes though.
Leonard enters this year as the only player on the Spurs projected to go to the All-Star game, this immediately sets him apart from the other players on this list. This could not only ensure him more votes but already helps him live up to the “most valuable” tagline. The Spurs folded in the playoffs without him last season because he is the center of their offense and defense. If the Spurs snatch the Southwest crown again this year that will go a long way at helping secure the award..