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Community Shootaround: Early Leaders For MVP

Most NBA teams have only played 11 or 12 games so far, meaning we’re about one-seventh of the way through the 2016/17 regular season. While that’s too early to make any concrete declarations about how the rest of the season will play out, it has given us a preview of which players figure to be involved in the race for 2017’s Most Valuable Player award.

Oliver Maroney of Basketball Insiders examines this subject in a piece today, providing some early power rankings for the MVP race. In Maroney’s view, James Harden is the early frontrunner for the award. Harden, who is doing it all for the Rockets so far, is leading the league in assists by a comfortable margin, with 12.8 per game, and also ranks in the top five in scoring with 28.5 PPG. He has recorded three triple-doubles in his first 12 games of the season.

Behind Harden, Maroney places LeBron James second, with Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Blake Griffin filling out the rest of his list.

Some of those players, like DeRozan (33.3 PPG) and Westbrook (31.8 PPG, 9.8 APG, 9.5 RPG), are in the conversation because of the incredible numbers they’re posting so far. Others, like James, Paul, Durant, and Curry belong in the discussion because they’ve been as great as ever for the NBA’s best teams.

Slumps, injuries, and team performances could derail some of these MVP résumés over the course of the season, but based on what you’ve seen so far and what you expect to see the rest of the way: Who is your early pick for the MVP award? Will a dark horse not even mentioned by Maroney emerge as a candidate, or will the eventual winner be one of the 11 players he listed? Do you agree that Harden is the early favorite, or would you lean toward another player?

Jump into the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

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10 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Early Leaders For MVP

  1. Lebron tha King

  2. Antp29

    Def Kemba

  3. @CW_Crouse

    I have Kwahi as my MVP. The top defensive player in the league and he’s being asking to do more than ever on offense.

    Can’t go wrong with Harden or LeBron though.

  4. DarkGhost

    Lebron is the MVP. He’s been the MVP for the last decade but for reason the general public gets caught up in players stats and not how much value they bring to a team. Lebron has proven that wherever he plays is a title contender and the last time he left Cleveland they went from 61 wins to 19 and Miami when he left Miami they went from 4 straight finals appearances to barely making the playoffs in the last 2 years.

  5. Though he may not be a front runner for MVP (or even on the very short list), the fact that Maroney left off discussion of Jimmy Butler indicates that he is not paying much attention. He’s just paying homage to the usual suspects. Butler has been playing elite basketball for a team that is outperforming all expectations.

  6. ari_7732

    Harden, Lillard, and Westbrooks are my top 3

  7. Table

    Chris Paul has a career high 31.5 PER which leads the NBA. So his MVP candidacy is not simply tied to his team’s success as the author implies.

    • Luke Adams

      Oh yeah, CP3 and the guys I mentioned along with him are putting up terrific numbers, didn’t mean to imply otherwise. The stat lines Harden and Westbrook are putting up would be historic though, and it’s been more than a decade since anyone averaged as many PPG as DeRozan has so far. Paul’s traditional numbers don’t jump off the page like that, but his improved three-point percentage and his reduced turnover rate have made him more efficient than ever so far. Really impressive.

  8. itsallgood013

    LeBron of course. If Minnesota can start winning more, watch out for Andrew Wiggins as a dark horse.

  9. Jeffrey Amos

    1.Westbrook 2.CP3 3.Harden 4.JButler 5.KLeonard 6.KembaW 7.Durant 8.Griffin 9.LeBron 10.Cousins close-ADavis, Antetokounmpo and StephCurry.

    LeBron will pick it up as season progresses I believe. He’s kinda taking it easy, letting others get comfortable and probably being a bit overly unselfish.

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