2013-2014 MVP Race

After winning his second straight MVP and the fourth time in the last five years, LeBron James is looking to add another one onto his resumé. LeBron James of the Miami Heat became the fifth player in NBA history to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award four times, making him and Bill Russell the only players to earn the honor four times in five seasons.

LeBron James’ ability to dominate both on the offensive end and defensive end is what allows him to be in discussion of winning the MVP award every single year; much like Michael Jordan, who deserved to win the award every year because of what he brought to the game every single night.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James is coming off his second back-to-back NBA Championship. Last year, he had arguably one of his greatest individual seasons ever, averaging 26.8 PPG, 7.3 APG, 8 RPG, and shot an incredible 56% from the field and 40% from the three-point line. With all the things he has done so far, LeBron is still only 28 years of age. He still has a lot of potential to become a better player. He, himself, even said it, “I’m still getting better, I don’t want to be the same player I was this past season, I want to come into this season a new, improved, better LeBron James. We’ll see what happens, man. But I will come back a better player.” LeBron saying this can be pretty scary for the rest of the league, considering what he has already done in the past few years. Next year, he will be competing for his third championship in a much tougher Eastern Conference Finals. With the Bulls, Pacers, and Nets all getting better, LeBron will know he has to play and be better than ever in order for the Heat to three-peat. So, don’t be surprised if he wins this award AGAIN.

2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant joined the short list of players in the 50-40-90-club in the 2012-2013 season. Kevin Durant became only the sixth player to ever achieve such thing. Those players include Larry Bird (twice), Oklahoma’s own Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash (four times), Dirk Nowitzki, and now Kevin Durant. He led OKC to a 60-win season, grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Even though Oklahoma City lost in the 2nd Round to the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Durant will be competing harder and will be more motivated to going further in the playoffs and getting back to the NBA Finals. He will continue to average his typical 28-29 PPG, grab 5-7 RPG, and 3-5 APG; but this year you will see a much improved KD, both on the offensive end and defensive end. You will see an improved defender, rebounder, passer and a more talkative Kevin Durant. He understands that in order for OKC to win a championship(s), he has to work on his weaknesses and become a better leader on and off the court.

3. Chris Paul

With the additions of J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, and the hiring of new Head Coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers are in the best situation of making a deep playoff run and possibly reaching the NBA finals. The Clippers are arguably the deepest team in the NBA and without a doubt the deepest team in the West. Chris Paul, near the peak of his prime, knows how important that championship is. He and the Clippers will do whatever it takes to secure that No. 1 seed in the West. If they can somehow grab the best record in the league and Western Conference, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the league decides to give the award to Chris Paul. Remember, Chris Paul deserved the 2008 MVP award more than Kobe Bryant, but the Lakers finished with the better record.

4. Carmelo Anthony

He is considered by many to be overrated because he hasn’t gone far into the playoffs. Last year, he led the Knicks to a 54-28 record, finishing 2nd in the East and third in MVP voting. He will be entering his 11th year in the league and has shown he has the capability and talent to win this award. Last season, Carmelo put up a league leading 28.7 PPG, shooting 44.9%, along with 6.9 RPG and 2.6 APG. He shot a very solid 37.9% from the three-point line. In fact, he was the only player in the league who received a 1st-place vote in the MVP race other than LeBron. The Knicks, this off-season, added more talent around him with the additions of Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, and with the drafting of Tim Hardaway, Jr. Melo will now have more room to operate because the teams won’t be able to focus as much on him, especially with a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith. If he can have a better all-around year than he had the previous year, while helping the Knicks get the 1st or 2nd seed in the East, Melo will be in the discussion of winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

5. Dwight Howard

Now some of you guys will be shocked or surprised with Dwight Howard being in the Top 5, but it won’t change the fact that he will be in the discussion of winning the MVP award. Dwight Howard is a three-time (09-11) Defensive Player of the Year, has made it to the Finals before, and when, healthy he is by far the best center in the league. Last year, with a shoulder and back injury, Dwight Howard still averaged 17 PPG, 12 RPG, and 2 BPG, along with 57% shooting from the field. This offseason, he signed a 4-year, $88 million contract with the Houston Rockets to put himself in a better situation to win this year and the years to come. He is only 27 years old and he now has the chance to learn from the greats like Kevin McHale and Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon. This year, he will be fully healthy (knock on wood) and with the players he has around (esp. James Harden), he will be able to go back to playing more effectively. He will probably lead the league in rebounding, blocks, and if he stays healthy, he will win the DPOY for the fourth time in his career. He will be the leading force in Houston and it won’t be surprising if Houston grabs the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the West. He led a decent Orlando team to a 59-win season before and it won’t be surprising if he does it again now that he has a superstar around him in James Harden.

Winning the MVP award doesn’t really mean much if you don’t win the Championship, but it sure is a huge honor as a professional athlete because of the hard work, dedication, and time you give to put yourself and your team in a situation to do good and win. If you agree or disagree, go ahead put your comments below and let me hear you guy’s opinions.

Written by Tariq Ahmad

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