NBA MVP Power Rankings: Giannis Makes Strongest Early Case

The NBA season isn't a month old yet, but several of the NBA's marquee stars are already playing at an extremely high level, putting themselves at the forefront of the MVP race. A number of players who are usually in the mix - including reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard - don't crack the top five right now either due to their lack of team success or injury. With that in mind, here are the top five MVP contenders so far this season:

5) Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 27.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.3 apg, 28.8 PER

Curry has sometimes taken a backseat to Kevin Durant (more on him in a second), but Golden State is at their best when Curry is running the show effectively. He isn't shooting that well - only 34.7 percent from three-point range - but he's still finding a way to score. We know that hot shooting will be coming at some point as well. And, when it does, he'll rocket up the list.

4) Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 26.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.7 apg, 24.0 PER

Durant's candidacy, like Curry's, is hurt because they play with so many other stars. Golden State's 4-3 record so far this season has also been surprising and negatively impacted their stock in this regard, but it's hard not to notice what Durant is doing. He's putting up his usual offensive numbers, but his 2.7 blocks per game currently rank second in the league.

3) Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Stats: 24.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, 25.6 PER

No Chris Paul, no problem for the 4-1 Clippers - and Blake Griffin is the biggest reason why. He's taken a step forward offensively and flourished in the lead scoring role, putting up a career-high in points while making 2.4 three-pointers per game (he had never averaged more than 0.6) on a career-best percentage (41.4 percent). As long as Los Angeles keeps winning, Griffin will be on this list.

2) James Harden, SG/PG, Houston Rockets
Stats: 25.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 9.6 apg, 23.8 PER

Houston has gotten off to a 5-2 start without Chris Paul largely thanks to the play of James Harden. His playmaking skills have once again been on full display as he ranks fourth in the league in assists along with being in the top eight in points. Harden is doing it all again this year and the Rockets are looking like a legit title threat because of it.

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1) Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: 34.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 36.7 PER

No one has owned the first two weeks of the season like the Greek Freak. He leads the league in both scoring and PER (player efficiency rating) by a wide margin and has carried Milwaukee to a 4-2 mark so far. After leading Milwaukee in every major statistical category last year, Antetokounmpo is the team's leader in points, rebounds, assists, and steals while ranking second in blocks. That shows just how much he means to this team. 

Plus, his late-game heroics have helped his case.

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Related Topics: Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, NBA MVP, James Harden, NBA News, Giannis Antetokounmpo