We all know the drill. People love to rank things, so let’s rank the top 10 likely winners of the Kia MVP Award for this season so far.
#1: Giannis Antetokounmpo
It should come as no surprise that Giannis is the most likely to win and become a back-to-back MVP winner. So far this season, he is averaging 29.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, and is on the team that is 2nd in the East with a record of 7-3. He has the stats so far, and he’s winning games as well, and that’s what matters.
#2: LeBron James
LeBron so far has been dominant for the Lakers, and it’s looking as if he’s not going to average his career averages yet again for a season. He’s averaging 24 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 11 assists a night so far and has led the Lakers to the current best record in the West at 8-2. He is distributing the ball well and is able to find his teammates and get them easy open shots. We knew he was going to be great as a point guard this year, but I don’t think anybody expected this.
#3: Anthony Davis
Davis is showing just how dominant he can be, as he is currently averaging 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game through the Lakers 10 games. He’s also a stud defensively as he’s averaging 2.9 blocks and 1.3 steals a night as well. He is showing that he is the true primary scorer for the Lakers and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
#4: Kyrie Irving
I know the Nets haven’t been great so far this season, as they are currently in 10th in the East with a record of 4-6. But, they are a relatively new team that has many new pieces and needs the time to gel. Kyrie is an absolute stud this year in their first 9 games, though. He is averaging 29.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 7 assists a night. With Curry out for the next few months, it’s likely that Kyrie will be widely considered the best point guard in the league this year and could be very well poised to add some hardware if the Nets start winning games.
#5: Kawhi Leonard
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking, and it probably goes something like this: “Mike, why the (expletive) is Kawhi not higher than 5th? What the (expletive)?” Well, the reason is simple, and it’s that he is going to play way less games than the rest of these guys barring any injury setbacks to any of them. “Load management” is a new trend in the NBA, and I honestly don’t like it. I understand if you’re coming off of a major injury like Blake Griffin or Mo Bamba currently are. But Kawhi has been reported on injury reports as being fully healthy and not requiring any rest, yet he still will sit out at least 10-15 games. That is going to hurt his chances to win the MVP award this season, and it hurts his ranking in my list.
#6: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is the best center in the NBA currently. He is averaging 23 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a night so far in 9 games, and has led the Sixers to a 6-3 record through those first 9 games. The Sixers are one of the best teams in the NBA right now, and have probably the best starting 5 in the league right now. Joel is their best player, and if he continues this production up and doesn’t lose in the 2nd round this year, Joel Embiid might make his way into the finalists for this award at the end of the year.
#7: Devin Booker
The Suns, if the season were to end today, would have a winning percentage of .600 and would finish 7th in the loaded Western conference. Obviously, the season won’t end today, but that doesn’t mean the Suns won’t make the playoffs. They look like an actually competent team for the first team since Steve Nash left, and Devin Booker is leading the charge. At 23 years old, Booker is averaging 25.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. He has settled into more of a pure scorer role as Rubio has come in to take care of the passing duties and take that load off of Booker, which lets Booker play his natural game. As you can see, it’s working out quite well for him, too.
#8: James Harden
Somehow, Harden is doing better in the scoring totals than last year so far? Like, how? He’s currently averaging 37.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. He also currently has a PER that sits just below 30 (29.5). That being said, his field goal percentage is only at 40% for the season so far, which is not what you want to see from him. The scary thing, though, is that if he gets his percentage up, he could realistically be averaging over 40 points a night. If that happens, and the Rockets do well in the playoffs, look for Harden’s name to be announced for the second time at the NBA Awards Show.
#9: Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam is legit. He broke through last year after winning the G-League MVP the year before, and is now the #1 option for the defending champion Toronto Raptors. Throughout the Raptors first 10 games, they are 7-3 with Siakam leading the way by averaging points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. The Raptors are looking better than any of us thought they would be, and they could possibly make a second run to the Finals in an Eastern Conference that only has 3 truly contending teams, as long as they fall apart. If that happens, it will be because of the great play of Siakam.
#10: Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell came into the NBA Draft in 2017 as a practical unknown, and has since demolished and expectations that scouts had for him. This season so far, he is averaging 25.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 steals a night. He is becoming one of the best 2-way guards in the league, and that is only going to become more true as now he is learning from Mike Conley, who is the absolute perfect mentor for a player like Mitchell. The Jazz were the “dark horse” pick for many people going into this season, but it’s starting to look like they are more legit than anybody thought they were going to be. Through 11 games so far, they are 8-3 and have beaten teams like the Sixers, Bucks, and Clippers to get to that record. They are currently on a 4-game win streak and show no true signs of stopping due to their upcoming games. If the Jazz keep this kind of momentum going throughout the season, they could easily have their first MVP-winner since Karl Malone.