Photo Courtesy of  fanragsports.com

Peter Shin
Staff Reporter
November 6, 2017

With the 2017-2018 NBA season starting, we see a whole new landscape before us. Teams have exploded, new trios have formed, and franchises desperately try to win the team arms race to beat the Warriors. One of the hot topics for this year’s NBA season is the MVP

race. The MVP, or most valuable player, is the most venerable award an individual can get in the NBA besides a ring. Getting an MVP award not only means the league recognizes you as the best player on a team, but the best player in the entire league. The 2017-2018 MVP race is an intriguing one, with new teams and new players bursting into the spotlight. Today I will talk about some possible candidates for this years MVP.

THE PROBABLIES

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard was a top three candidate for MVP in last years voting. As the media was talking about Westbrook vs Harden, Kawhi quietly put up 25.5/5.8/3.5 on efficient shooting while leading the San Antonio Spurs to the second seed in The Western Conference. Kawhi is unique in that he is one of the few elite two-way players in the league, receiving an All Defensive First Team nod last year while being the number one scoring option for the Spurs. Unfortunately for Kawhi, while Harden and Westbrook stepped it up at the end of the regular season, he slowed down. In the playoffs however, he showed why he might be one of the top three players in the league, outplaying James Harden and torching the Warriors until he suffered an upsetting ankle injury. Many suspected that this year would be Kawhi’s year due to him being the lone superstar on the Spurs as other teams became more stacked. Unfortunately, he has been sidelined for the start of the 2017-2018 season. The ankle injury will hurt his chances at achieving MVP this season, but if Kawhi can lead the Spurs to a top three seed in the stacked west, he has a good chance to win MVP this year.

“I think Kawhi’s gonna win MVP because he got so close last year.” said Elijah Smith, “He just gets better with scoring every year, becoming a better defensive player, and as he improves more and more he’s just getting closer to that MVP.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Someone needs to check what they’re giving this kid. Giannis has been steadily improving every year he has been in the league, and this year he’s come out blasting. The hyper athletic Giannis has not shied away from showing off his ability to drive at will and swat shots in the first few games of the season. He’s gone off to a roaring start and has quickly become the frontrunner for the MVP candidate, averaging 31.3/10.6/5.1 over eight games. A few worrying traits for the talented twenty two year old is the Bucks themselves. Giannis has been looking unstoppable, but he doesn’t seem to have the best supporting cast around him. With Jabari injured, Giannis only has a Khris Middleton as his second option. He needs to strive for at least the fourth seed in the East in order to win the MVP. It’s unrealistic that he will keep these kinds of astronomical numbers, but if he just maintains a bit of this dominating play, than there is no way the Greek Freak isn’t a favorite to win.

“Giannis is actually on that mamba mentality.” said Tommy Na. Tommy noted that with Giannis’s “style of play, size, and athleticism,” he wouldn’t be surprised if Giannis keeps these numbers up for the season

THE MAYBES

LeBron James

LeBron realistically could win the MVP every year if he gave enough effort. The 32 year old small forward has shown no signs of slowing down, and this year may be the year he goes for another MVP. The King has already won three MVPs and could’ve won more if not for voters getting sick of voting for him. LeBron is the great player of this era, with Kobe before him, and MJ before both of them. The biggest problem is that LeBron has gotten into the habit of coasting during the regular season, which will hurt his chances of winning an MVP.  He’s been putting up a respectable 25.6/7.3/8.9 to the start of the season, but the Cavaliers have been performing poorly in the first few games. He has the ability to average more and lead the Cavs to more wins, but the question is if LeBron really wants to try and win the MVP or not. Unless he puts up some better stats and gets the Cavs to the first seed, there is little chance that he wins the MVP this year.

“A lot of people seem to be forgetting that LeBron’s still the best player in the league.” said Jayson Baskett. “I think this year he’s gonna be reminding a lot of people.”

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie has been causing some controversy with fans and the league. His desire to leave Cleveland and flat earth theories have rubbed some fans the wrong way. Nonetheless, Kyrie is one of most offensively unstoppable players in the league. With the league’s best handles and a jump shot, there are few defenders that can stop Kyrie from scoring. Kyrie’s migration to the Celtics and desire to be the star on the team is a prime time for a career best season, especially after the horrific injury of the second option Gordon Hayward. Now, Kyrie has all the tools to become the MVP. He’s gone off to an OK start, averaging 21.8/3/5.6 If he can lead the Celtics to the second seed with his scoring and passing than he has a chance to win the MVP.

“I think Kyrie was tired of getting sonned by LeBron,” said Ben Lew. “He wants to be the star of a team, so he’s gonna really ball out on the Celtics.”

Blake Griffin

A real curveball here. In my opinion, Blake could really have a great season with the Clippers. With the departure of their point guard Chris Paul, Blake has become the primary ball handler for the Clippers. This means that this season Blake can really show off his scoring ability and his passing ability. The Clippers have shown that they shouldn’t be taken lightly and Blake has shown that he can run and lead a team. Blake has been averaging 23/8.5/4.3 with a game winner already under his belt. If Blake can lead the Chris Paul-less Clippers to a top three seed in the western conference than he could be a dark horse candidate for the MVP.

“We already knew this man has skill,” said Edward Robinson, “He’s the number one option on his team like Giannis, but he has more experience and time in the league. Without Chris Paul, I think he’ll really show out.”

Posted by Peter Shin

Peter Shin, a senior, is an icon. As a student taking journalism for the third year, Peter was proudly a middle pages editor for the glorious Raider Review last year. Hip-hop, corgis, and chicken cooked in any way is only some of his most favorite things in life.

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