Now that the NBA season is over a month old, we are starting to get a real sense of who teams are this year and which players are at the top of the game. There are the usual suspects at the top of the MVP race, but the guys at the top are gunning for their first MVP award. Here's how the race is shaping up early in the season:
5) Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
The star of LA's 14-4 start, Paul has been the engineer that drives the Clippers. As usual, he has filled the entire stat sheet, averaging 17.9 points, 8.6 assists, 4.9 rebounds and a league-high 2.8 steals per game. If the Clippers continue to keep pace with the Warriors and Spurs at the top of the Western Conference, Paul will stay in the MVP race.
4) Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors
Speaking of the Warriors, Durant has replaced Stephen Curry - the reigning two-time MVP - as the leading candidate on Golden State's roster. Not only are his stats excellent (27.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.7 apg), but he's also extremely efficient. He is shooting an amazing 57 percent from the field (fifth in the NBA), and more impressively, leads the NBA in field goal percentage DEFENSE around the rim - an area of weakness for this Golden State team. He's doing it all right now for the Warriors, spearheading their 12-game winning streak.
3) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
For as good as the Warriors have been this season, Cleveland has quietly been just as dominant, posting a 13-2 record. LeBron is playing a big role as usual, but he is currently averaging what would be career-highs in assists (8.4 per game) and rebounds (9.7 per game). And he's doing all of that on nearly 50 percent shooting. Don't sleep on the King.
2) James Harden, PG/SG, Houston Rockets
The Rockets are a surprising 11-6 on the year, and James Harden is the biggest reason behind that improvement. He has flourished as the point guard in head coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system, ranking first in the league in assists (12.2 per game) and fourth in points (28.9). If Houston continues to be a contender throughout the entire season, Harden will be one of the favorites to win his first MVP.
1) Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Right now, it's impossible to give this award to anyone else. Even though the Thunder are just a solid 11-8 on the year, Westbrook already has eight triple-doubles on the season. In fact, he's currently averaging a triple-double per game (30.9 points, 11.3 assists, 10.3 rebounds). He has stepped up in a huge way since Kevin Durant left in the offseason, and this team would be downright awful without him. If he keeps up this pace, Westbrook will run away with his first MVP.Back to the NBA Newsfeed