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Kevin Garnett he said he thinks Thon Maker will be Kia MVP ‘one day.’ Which young player, to you, would be a surprising MVP winner in the future?
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Steve Aschburner: Since Thon Maker is barely two years younger than Giannis Antetokounmpo, and figures to be behind "The Greek Freak" in Milwaukee's pecking order for quite some time, can I just go with Antetokounmpo? He's still just 22 for a couple more weeks. OK, so he wouldn't qualify as a "surprise" MVP, I get it. That wipes out a bunch of young players with obvious All-NBA chops, from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to Kristaps Porzingis and Devin Booker. So I'll take a deep dive here and go with Chicago's Zach LaVine. He's got all the physical ability he needs (assuming his rehab from ACL surgery goes as planned), he's had time now to learn the game's fine points and he'll have a great market in which to showcase his skills, with an organization desperate for some star power.
Shaun Powell: I really don't think any young unheralded player -- seriously KG, Thon Maker? -- has thrown down that gauntlet just yet. And I can't recall the last time we've had a "surprise" MVP to that degree, if that's ever happened before. But for the sake of playing along, I'll go with Kyle Kuzma, the 27th pick and less heralded of the Lakers' first-round picks last summer. Remember, key word is surprising, which rules out Giannis Antetokounmpo.
John Schuhmann: Bruno Caboclo would be a "surprising" MVP, given that he's still the 15th man on the roster in his fourth season. But maybe the question is about a player in which I'm the only one who sees MVP potential? Not sure that player exists, as most people see that in guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and even Nikola Jokic. Boston has a couple of guys – Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum – who might be in the conversation five or more years from now. Each of them can eventually score 20-plus points per game, while making an impact in other ways. But both were No. 3 picks, so I'm not sure you can file them under "surprising" either.
Sekou Smith: I admire Mr. Area 21's bold take on Thon Maker. KG certainly knows a thing or two about getting his hands on a Kia MVP. But the premise here is pretty broad when you think of someone surprising us as a future candidate for basketball's most prestigious individual (regular season) honor. Since we're going off the grid for this one, projecting an uncertain future for so many, I'll go with my man Devin Booker in Phoenix. I know it's hard to see it now, what with the dumpster fire the Suns are trying to put out right now. And Booker has plenty of work to do on his game. The skills, though, are there. The profile to be an elite performer in today's NBA is already set. Again, I know we're projecting here. But did you see two-time Kia MVP Stephen Curry coming? Neither did I -- well, sort of ...