The NBA season is churning right along as we hit the quarter-point of the season, and we're finally starting to see some separation between teams, along with MVP candidates. A number of players who are usually in the mix - including reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry - don't crack the top five. With that in mind, here are the top five MVP contenders so far this season:
5) Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 25.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.1 bpg, 24.51 PER
Durant enters this list thanks to his play since Golden State lost Stephen Curry to a sprained ankle, putting up a triple-double against the Hornets and dropping 36 on the Pistons. We know how good Durant is and he's flourishing in an increased role without Curry.
4) Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics
Stats: 24.0 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.0 rpg, 25.67 PER
Irving's numbers won't wow you and his MVP buzz has slowed down since Boston's 16-game win streak, but leading the Celtics to a league-best 22-5 record certainly garners MVP consideration. He has rallied this team despite numerous injuries and has them playing as well as anyone while taking over as the unquestioned leader.
3) Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: 29.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 4.4 apg, 30.70 PER
The Greek Freak has slowed down since his insanely hot start to the season, but he's still putting up crazy numbers and leads the Bucks in points, rebounds, and blocks. Antetokounmpo has solidified himself as a legitimate MVP candidate who will be in the race all season long.
2) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 28.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 8.5 apg, 31.48 PER
Cleveland's 13-game win streak didn't get the publicity Boston's 16-game streak got, but James was the direct reason for the Cavs' turnaround after a slow start to the season. The King continues to show he's the best player in the world and isn't ready to relinquish that throne yet. James is - once again - doing everything to make the Cavs one of the best teams in the East.
1) James Harden, SG/PG, Houston Rockets
Stats: 31.6 ppg, 9.4 apg, 5.1 rpg, 30.57 PER
This looks like the year Harden finally gets over the hump and wins his first MVP award. Houston has gotten off to a 19-4 start despite not having Chris Paul for a long stretch, and they were able to maintain a high level of success because of Harden. He is doing it all again this year - leading the league in points and ranking second in assists - and the Rockets are looking like a legit title threat because of it.Back to the NBA Newsfeed