Stephen Curry has won each of the last two NBA Most Valuable Player awards, but his path to a third straight trophy is complicated by the arrival of another former MVP, Kevin Durant. With Durant now a Warrior, both he and Curry could see their scoring averages take a slight hit, and without a clear-cut top star leading the way in Golden State, the duo may split votes during award season.
Both players, of course, are still strong MVP candidates. Offshore betting site Bovada.lv views Curry as a top-three contender for the award, and puts Durant in the next tier behind him. Still, as the site’s odds show, there’s some uncertainty surrounding the MVP race heading into the 2016/17 season.
Russell Westbrook is Bovada’s favorite for the award, and the idea that the point guard will put up massive numbers without Durant has been a popular narrative throughout the offseason. Still, the Thunder are widely expected to take a step back in the standings. Would Westbrook’s candidacy lose steam if Oklahoma City is battling to even make the playoffs in the West?
Along with Curry, LeBron James rounds out Bovada’s top three, but there’s a belief that LeBron will play fewer minutes than ever this season after carrying the team to a title in the spring. James has racked up a ton of miles over the course of his NBA career, and with the Cavaliers clearly atop the pecking order in the East, the team may not need him to play every game, or even to play 30 minutes per game, to snag a top seed.
Bovada’s other top contenders? Anthony Davis, who is already battling an ankle issue; Kawhi Leonard, who has never ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers; and James Harden, whose Rockets are coming off a disappointing season. Further down the list, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Chris Paul are among the other top candidates, per Bovada.
What do you think? Who will be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2016/17? Will it be a repeat winner like Curry, Durant, or LeBron, or will a new name be added to the league’s list of MVPs? Is there a long-shot candidate you think has a realistic chance to take home the hardware? Take to the comments section below to weigh in!