There are about 20 games left in the #NBA regular season. Over the next few weeks March Madness will take over the airwaves and the NBA will be put on the back-burners until playoff time. But, the MVP race is heating up and the Sports Whisperer breaks it down below.
Top 7 MVP Candidates for the 2017-18 Season.
#7) LeMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs): As of last week, the man they call “LA” was first in the NBA, in leading his team in scoring. Say that out loud… Aldridge has led the Spurs in scoring more times than players James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Damian Lillard, have led their team. The former Portland Trailblazer is not putting up “gaudy” numbers but he has been one of the most consistent options, game in and game out. Aldridge is averaging 22.4 points 8.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 50% from the field and 83 % from the free throw line. He does all of this with every defense in the league altering their game plan to stop or double team him. When Kawhi Leonard comes back for his injury, this team could get to the NBA Finals under Gregg Popovich. If that happens, would anyone be surprised?
#6) Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics): After going to three straight NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the man they call “Uncle Drew” decided he wanted greener pastures and was traded to the Boston Celtics. Without a legitimate number 2 scoring option, Boston is battling for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Kryie is averaging 24.7 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. He has been everything Boston could have asked for and more.
#5) Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): This team has underachieved during the regular season and it cost Jason Kidd his coaching job. But, with the return of Jabari Parker, the Bucks can be a force to be reckoned with. “The Greek Freak” has been amazing this season, he is leading his team in almost every statistical category. Giannis is averaging 27.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 block per game. With all due respect to LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, is there a better two-way player in basketball than the 23-year-old? I don’t think so.
#4) Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans): Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins who was averaging 25.2 points and 10.7 rebounds to a season ending injury the Pelicans are 4th in the NBA West. Davis has been a huge part of this teams success. He is playing almost 36 minutes a night and averaging 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.28 blocks per game. The former Kentucky Wildcat is only 24- years-old and is already considered by some as the best big man in the NBA
#3) Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder): When the Thunder acquired Carmelo Anthony and Paul George in the off-season there was a buzz around the NBA that this team could contend for a title. The regular season has been a struggle. The Team is 38-27 and 7th in the Western Conference. Despite their inconsistent play, last year’s MVP, Westbrook has been sensational. The Former UCLA Bruin is averaging 25.4 points. 9.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists. He is very close to averaging a triple double for the 2nd year in a row. This team doesn’t have a bench or consistent three-point shooting, but no one wants to face them in the playoffs.
#2) Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers): The Trail Blazers are 3rd in the Western Conference and have won 9 straight games. Lillard has been the most consistent point guard all year long. He is averaging 26.8 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. One of the things I love about Damian is he rises to the competition. When he plays against team’s like Houston and the Golden State Warriors he has his best games. Portland will be a “very tough” out, come post-season.
James Harden (Houston Rockets): Harden has led his team on a impressive regular season run. Houston is battling for a #1 overall seed, in part because of Harden’s play. The Rockets have been the most dominant team in the west. They are 31-8 in conference play. The man they call “The Beard” has been durable, and unstoppable. He is averaging 31.1 points, 8.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Harden has been so good, Chris Paul is playing the two guard when James in on the court.
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers): “The King” has had to play with three different teams this season. He has played with over 10 different players than he played with last year. Through all of it, he hasn’t missed the beat. LeBron has been in the league for 14 years and he is having his most complete seasons. He is averaging 27 points, 9.0 assists, 8.4 rebounds, l.5 steals and .9 blocks per game. He leads the team in every category other than Kevin Love averaging 9 rebounds a game. LeBron has done it all, including hitting a few game winning shots. He has played in 65 games and looks better and stronger as the season goes on. If Love can comeback healthy this team has a great chance of going to a fourth straight NBA Finals.
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