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Your top three candidates for Kia NBA Most Valuable Player?
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David Aldridge: Alphabetically, Anthony Davis, James Harden and LeBron James, with apologies to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, whose outstanding seasons were slowed by injuries. What Davis has done since DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season in late January has been breathtaking; what Harden has done in Houston all season has been remarkable. The Rockets have been the best team in the league all season, seamlessly integrating Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute seamlessly, and Harden was the reason why. And what James has done at age 33, as The Finals team from last season was dismantled, rebuilt, dismantled again in the middle of the season out of desperation and reconfigured again, is crazy. No, I’m not telling you who I’m voting for. Watch the Awards Show on TNT in June.
Steve Aschburner: 1. James Harden, 2. LeBron James, 3. Anthony Davis. Whatever the criteria, Harden to me is the clear No. 1 candidate. He’s the best player by far on the best team by far, compared to James or anyone else. He’s a stud in efficiency rating, he’s the league’s leading scorer, he has adapted yet again (last year to be more of a team guy, this season to play alongside Chris Paul) and he has some sentiment on his side after getting steamrolled in 2016-17 by Russell Westbrook’s triple-double express. James’ stats have been remarkable for a player at age 33 (the 15th year “thing” owes to his head start right out of high school, so that matters less to me for historical comparisons). But he also has to own the Cavaliers’ soap-opera sag prior to the trade deadline and a middle-of-the-East playoff seed. Davis helped the Pelicans to a better record after DeMarcus Cousins went down than they had with him, which nary a soul could have expected.
Shaun Powell: First: James Harden. From start to finish he delivered the best performance and elevated his team to the top in the very tough West, even with Chris Paul missing a chunk of action. Second: LeBron James. Quite simply, the best player in the game with the best performance by anyone since the calendar flipped to 2018. We’ve never seen anyone this old this good. Third: Russell Westbrook. Surely, people will howl and ask about Anthony Davis and that is understandable. But if you gave him MVP for averaging a triple-double last season — which I did — how do you totally dismiss him for consideration this season when he essentially does the same thing?
John Schuhmann: 1. James Harden: The Rockets have been the best team in the league, and he’s the primary operator of that train. 2. LeBron James: An incredible offensive season. He remains the best player in the world. 3. Anthony Davis: He has always put up numbers, but he took a step forward this season in regard to making the team around him better.
Sekou Smith: This is a cruel question for the guy who has been stewing over this order all season on the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. But I know we’ve finally come to the finish line of this season’s race and it’s time to go ahead and hand out the hardware. James Harden tops my list and will finally get his hands on that Maurice Podoloff Trophy he made space for years ago. Debate it all you want. But it’s his time. LeBron James comes in second, having put together a season worthy of Kia MVP honors yet again. Anthony Davis finishes third on my list, having been the best player on Earth for that six-week stretch after the shock of Cousins’ season-ending injury wore off. Davis helped the New Orleans Pelicans climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture. “The Brow’s” time is coming.
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