Community Shootaround: Early Look At MVP Race

Last spring, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden turned the 2018/19 MVP race into a two-man event, with Antetokounmpo’s two-way excellence ultimately outweighing Harden’s offensive dominance in the eyes of voters.

Several months later, both Antetokounmpo and Harden have seemingly picked up right where they left off, leading their teams to 8-3 records through 11 games.

After winning the NBA’s MVP award last year, Giannis has boosted his numbers in almost every major category, including PPG (30.5), RPG (14.5), APG (6.5), SPG (1.5), and 3PT% (.295). While his three-point percentage still isn’t at the level he’d like, he has developed into more of a threat beyond the arc, slowly adding a new dimension to his game to keep opponents up at night.

Harden, meanwhile, started the season in a bit of a shooting slump, which makes it all the more remarkable that he’s currently averaging an NBA-high 38.2 points per game. His staggering 15.3 free throw attempts per game have helped buoy his scoring average, and his assist numbers haven’t taken a hit with Russell Westbrook in the picture — he’s averaging 8.2 APG.

While Antetokounmpo and Harden are doing their best to make it a two-man MVP race again, they aren’t the only players emerging as early candidates.

The 9-2 Lakers have been led by LeBron James and his league-leading 11.1 assists per game. The Mavericks are in the playoff mix in the West thanks to Luka Doncic (28.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 9.3 APG). The same goes for the Suns and Devin Booker (25.5 PPG on .537/.500/.943 shooting), and the Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns (25.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 4.2 APG).

Over in the East, Kemba Walker (25.0 PPG, .444 3PT%) has led the Celtics to an NBA-best 9-1 record. Joel Embiid (23.0 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG) has been his usual dominant self for the 7-4 Sixers. And Pascal Siakam (27.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.8 APG) has become a No. 1 option for the 8-3 Raptors.

We didn’t even mention Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis, or stars like Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, putting up huge numbers for teams off to slow starts. In other words, there are plenty of early contenders to watch in this year’s MVP race.

Still, Antetokounmpo and Harden look like the early frontrunners once again, which leads us to today’s discussion topic. Do you expect the Bucks and Rockets stars to repeat as the top two finishers in the MVP vote in 2019/20, or will another player as emerge as a top candidate, pushing Giannis or Harden out of the top two? And which player is your early pick to ultimately win the award?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your early thoughts on this season’s MVP race!

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19 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Early Look At MVP Race

  1. Tazza

    If LBJ gets a MVP in year 17 that’s absolutely amazing. Not sure he can keep pace but he plays on for the team with the best record and leads the league is assists. Once his shot comes back I think he can go from 24 points per game to about 28 and he will continue to have about 8 rebounds. He’s also improves a lot defensively which had been his biggest down fall last year.
    Also Luka and Booker have a case but I think their teams will fade away some more. Kemba will be alright, Embid continues to beast, Giannis continues to beast.

    I just want LBJ to have it so him and Micheal have 5 each. Bron has more all stars, more all nba first, more all nba seconds and more all nba thirds.
    Mike has 4 more all defensive first (LBJ has a second, MJ don’t) plus MJ has a defensive PoTY.
    Obviously MJ also has 3 more rings but I think it’s really close.
    I think what you can say is MJ was a freak on defence and scoring but in terms of all round game it’s Bron. Bron can shoot efficient, can defender, can pass amazingly, can lead, can play a number of positions and has had a longer career.
    I see Bron getting another ring, maybe 2. Getting atleast 1 assists leader award, and possibly even a defensive second team. Getting another MVP would be huge for him

    • thatsright

      As of the time this article was posted, LeBron’s team does not have the best record (Celtics).

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        You can’t really compare records between the two conferences. Winning 50 games in the east is equal to 40 wins in the superior West.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      You can’t compare LeBron to Jordan, it’s not even close.

      LBJ is barely among the top 10 players in NBA history.

    • Tazza

      What are you on about? The only people in the history of basketball than have a case to be the best are LBJ MJ Magic Russell Kareem and Wilt.

      For me I’d say Wilt was insane, on another level. But for what he was, he doesn’t have the awards to support his case he just has some records. In a league where he was easily the best player he only won 2 rings, 1 finals MVP. Also I think for someone as dominant as he was it’s surprising he only got 7 all bra first.

      Then you have Bill Russell, won of the most successful players ever. He won 11 rings but zero finals MVPs… I also don’t understand how he won 5 mvps but only 3 all nba first teams. How can he be the leagues most value player but not in the top 5 best players..

      That makes LBJ a top 4 player and I find it hard to differentiate these guys. I think If LBJ was to get a 5th MVP in year 17 that’s insane and something no one could ever do. It would also tie him up with MJ and Kareem on 5, with Magic on 3. Even if you hate him you know he in the conversation of GOAT

  2. IslandFlava

    So far this year for me the MVP race stands as
    1) Giannis
    2) Luka
    3) Harden
    the next 3 would be KAT, AD & Dame.

    • Chucktoad1

      Those are fine, but I’d ad James, Leonard and honestly Siakam. Only November though.

    • Tazza

      Harden may be scoring lots of points but his percentages are down, and his team is looking pretty shaky.
      I think Luka and Siakim are right up there

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        How exactly are the Rockets looking shaky at 9-3?

        Putting Luka ahead of Harden in the MVP race is laughable.

        • Chucktoad1

          Shaky…because as usual everyone else on the team is playing like crap and once again Harden is carrying the offense in spite of everyone else’s poor play. On defense without exception everyone is playing poorly.
          Laughable to put Doncic above? No. He’s putting up good numbers on a team that is doing better than expected. He’s not playing better than Harden and I’d put Harden over Doncic so far. It’s close though.

        • Tazza

          They look shaky cause they suck on defence and on offence it’s very clunky. They beat the Pelicans by 3, Thunder by 4, Wizards by 1 and Grizzlies by 7. For a team that’s supposed to be competing you don’t want to be just beating the bad teams you want to be making a statement or you want to be resting your stars and still winning comfortably.

          Whereas Doncic and the Mavs, beat a good Nuggets team and pushed the Lakers to overtime in a loss. They have looked good at times but slipped twice against the knicks. If they didn’t slip those 2 games they are 9/2. Also Doncic is up 7 points per game, is up 2 rebounds, up 3 assists, has a improved his FG% and FT%. Hes been balling this year carrying his team, Harden has scored well but his team is struggling

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    How can a player averaging 39.5 points per game on a 10-3 team not be considered front-runner for the MVP? Pure anti-Harden bias….

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