NBA Futures: MVP Race
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s reigning MVP.
He led the Bucks to a 60-22 record and a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
It’s still mind-boggling to think that Antetokounmpo is only 24 years old, but he set career highs in points (27.7), rebounds (12.5) and assists (5.9) last year. He’s once again an early favorite to claim the title as best player in the league.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets and Klay Thompson sidelined with a torn ACL, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is one of the leading contenders to take home the NBA MVP.
Curry, who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2015 and 2016, played in 69 games last year and finished with averages of 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets reunited Russell Westbrook and James Harden in the offseason, but Harden is still a serious contender to take home the NBA MVP.
Harden came away with the award back in 2018, and he was dethroned by Antetokounmpo last year, but he still made his case to win back-to-back MVPs. In 78 games last season, Harden finished with a league-high 36.1 points per game, to go along with 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Some people believe the addition of Westbrook hurts Harden; however, I believe it can only benefit him. Opposing teams will have to worry about two superstars who can put the ball into the basket at any time.
Both players should have productive years for the Rockets as they continue their search for an NBA title.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James will be entering his 17th season, and he is still among the top five candidates to take home the NBA MVP.
For the first time since 2006, a James-led team failed to make the playoffs. And it just so happened to be his first season in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
With the additions of superstar Anthony Davis, and solid players in Danny Green and Avery Bradley, the Lakers - who already have James and Kyle Kuzma - are primed for a deep playoff run in 2019-20.
With that said, it begins and ends with James.
Last year was a ‘down season’ for James, but he still managed to finish with averages of 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game in 55 games.
The Lakers will only go as far as James takes them, and because of that statement, he has a chance to again be the league’s most valuable player.
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard wasn’t the NBA MVP last year, but he did claim the NBA Finals MVP.
Leonard, who was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors prior to the start of the season, was the driving force behind Toronto’s first NBA championship when the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors.
Now, Leonard has taken his talents to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers, and he will try to bring them their first NBA title.
He played in 60 games last year and finished with averages of 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Assuming health, the duo of Leonard and Paul George will give the Clippers a real shot at an NBA title.