Case for NBA MVP Candidates

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo 

In a league where it seems we know who the champion will be again, the MVP race is wide open. The Warriors, after we couldn’t even fathom adding another all-star to an already star-studded lineup, all-star bruising center DeMarcus Cousins signed for just one year, $5.3 million. Cousins has averaged 25.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists, and has struck friendships with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on the U.S. Olympic team. Such a powerful lineup has left me thinking that there won’t be enough to pass around to put up MVP type numbers. So, who are the top five MVP candidates according to Vegas? 

LeBron James +333: LeBron in Los Angeles creates one of the best story lines we have had in a long time. The team is full of young inexperienced players that have not been in much of a spotlight despite playing in the Staple Center. This has been due to years of not even making the playoffs after the legend and NBA Champion Kobe Bryant, the “Black Mamba” retired. LeBron has the potential to carry a team that didn’t even make it to the playoffs last year to one of the top seeds in the west. He’s been to eight straight finals, but this would be one of his greatest accomplishments in his career.  


LeBron has taken initiative off the court as well. This offseason, the king opened a public school in his hometown of Akron. Photo courtesy: 

“He is the greatest player of all time on one of the most historic teams of all time. I love LeBron in LA with that young team. They are going to be fun to watch, they are going to play fast. Lebron is going to put up monster numbers again. I think he is going to win it.” Foroutan Gorgi, a Woodstock senior, said when talking about LebBron on the Lakers. 

Anthony Davis +450: The Pelicans roster would struggle to break 25 wins without Anthony Davis at the center of everything, but with Davis on the floor, they can push almost anyone on any given night. His value is obvious. He spent the final two months of last season looking like the best player in the league, and he continued that run through the first few weeks of the playoffs (before the Warriors happened). He’s everywhere on defense, and he’s unstoppable on offense. If he stays healthy and leads the Pelicans to 50 wins and the middle of the West, it will be tough to choose anyone else. 


There has been rumors of “The Brow” signing with the Lakers this upcoming offseason. Davis signed with Lebron’s agent Klutch Sports and that stirred all the rumors. Davis seems to love playing where he was drafted. It will be interesting to see where he goes. Photo courtesy:  

“He is my pick for the MVP this season. He is a beast and no one in the league is that good on both sides of the ball. He might in defensive player of the year too.” Brennan Milone, a Woodstock senior, said about who he thought was going to win MVP. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo +500: Giannis’ case is similar to that of Anthony Davis. If he was not on the team, his team would be competing for a spot in the lottery. He himself will lead his team anywhere they go this season and in a weak conference in the east, he has a chance to be one of the best teams and make a run in the playoffs. 

Will Callahan, a Woodstock senior, on why he thought Giannis was going to win it, “Other than him being my favorite player in the league other than players on the Warriors, he’s literally unstoppable. His length is video game like. I would love to see him win it.”  


Over the summer, Giannis took time working out with Kobe Bryant and actually beat him to the gym three hours beforehand. Photo courtesy: 

Mike Budenholzer will be a massive upgrade over the Joe Prunty/Jason Kidd tag team and that alone should give them a bump. Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova were smart veteran pickups who will fit well in a wide-open scheme. He’s is going to put up amazing numbers that will make you look twice. Giannis is my pick to win the award, and it helps that there is no one in the league that doesn’t like “The Greek Freak.” 

James Harden +650: The reigning MVP of the 2017-2018 season has a chance to repeat. His team lost key role players like Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. This will only make the load Harden has to carry even greater. A repeat win for Harden is going to take a lot. The story line will not be there either, and I believe that is half the battle when winning the award. Two years ago, when Russell Westbrook won the award, many believed Harden had just as good of a year as him if not better. So, for Harden to be in the running for the third year straight will be tough. Voters will be looking to celebrate someone else. The next step for Harden is dominating in the playoffs, and another dominant regular season will only go so far. All of these are factors that will weigh against a repeat win. 

 james harden

In Mike D’Antoni’s system, Harden flourishes and does it all for his team. They play a lot of iso ball and kick out to shooters on the perimeter. That is how Harden has pated his stats over the years. Photo courtesy:  

Kawhi Leonard +950: Kawhi looked like one of the three best players alive and had a very good case for MVP in the last healthy season he played. He’s headed to Toronto, a team full of role players that will give him a chance to win big while looking like the hero. The whole world has already decided that the Celtics are the best team in the East, and if the Raptors somehow flip that story on its around, it will be impossible to explain the story without crediting Kawhi as the reason.  


One of Kawhi’s biggest headlines this year was his introductory press conference laugh that broke the internet. We will see if Leonard can generate that type of buzz with his play after being out almost an entire season due to injury. Photo courtesy:

“I think people are forgetting how good Kawhi was on the Spurs. He won a championship and I have never seen anyone play better defense than him. He is a quiet guy, but he can ball. He’s not my favorite to win it but I wouldn’t be shocked.” Mario Zambrano, a Woodstock senior, said.  






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