At the end of every NBA season there are a couple of main questions, which team will win the finals and who will win the regular season most valuable player award. As of now the top 5 men in the running for MVP are Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and Isaiah Thomas. All of these men have had great seasons but, only one can be the MVP.
Russell Westbrook is rated first in the MVP race as of now, and rightfully so. He is a six time all-star out of his eight years in the NBA. Westbrook has also done something that we’ve only seen done once before by Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 NBA season. This year Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple double, he averaged 30.6 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game and 10.4 assists per game. It was said that Westbrook would have to become the star player in Oklahoma City after the departure of Kevin Durant in the offseason. This season he did just that, putting up numbers we haven’t seen in over 55 years.
“He never believes that he’s ever out of it or we’re ever out of it, and he plays with an incredible competitive spirit,” Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “He just plays with unbelievable spirit all the time. He’s got a huge heart, he’s a huge competitor and he finds ways to make things happen.”
James harden is a five time all-star and a former sixth man of the year award winner, and has made an all-NBA team four times. Harden has had an amazing season as well, greatly improving from his last season. Last season he averaged 29 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 6.1 rebounds per game. This season he averaged a double double, scoring 29.1 points per game, grabbing 8.1 rebounds per game and passing for 11.2 assists per game. James Harden became the star of the Houston Rockets after the departure of Star center Dwight Howard in the offseason.
Kawhi Leonard is a two time all-star and a two time defensive player of the year. He is also a former NBA champion and Finals MVP in the 2014 season. Kawhi Leonard can do everything on the court, he can score from anywhere and is a lockdown defender. This season he has averaged the most points he has ever averaged at 25.5, the most assists he’s ever averaged at 3.5, he’s also averaged 1.8 steals per game and 0.7 blocks per game, both Great stats. He is the star player for the San Antonio Spurs, the spurs got swept in the western conference finals by the Golden State Warriors, but many say they wouldn’t have been swept if Kawhi Leonard didn’t get injured in the first game of the series.
“Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, “He’s the best two-way player and does it all with such class. It’s impressive.”
LeBron James has already proven to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. LeBron is a four time MVP, he was the rookie of the year in 2004, he is a three time NBA champion, winning the finals MVP all three times. He is a six time all defensive player. He has averaged 25+ points per game in his past thirteen seasons, this season he has averaged 26.4 points per game 8.7 assists per games, and 8.6 rebounds per game. In this year’s playoffs he passed Michael Jordan for the top scorer in NBA playoffs history. This year is the seventh year in a row he has made the NBA finals. LeBron has already proven to be one of the best, but he has shown no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Isaiah Thomas has led the Boston Celtics to being the number one team in the eastern conference, he is nicknamed “Mr. Fourth quarter” because he averaged the most points in the fourth quarter this season. Isaiah Thomas is an undersized NBA player, standing only 5’8″. Even though he is shorter than every other point guard, he has proven to be one of the best point guards in the league.
Stats from Basketball-reference website
Quotes and information from NBA website and SBnation website