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Mid-Season NBA MVP Race


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Although the first quarter of the NBA season is in the books, it’s never to early to breakdown the NBA MVP race. 20 games in fans have seen what players are setting the league on fire and what players have been disappointing so far.

When taking a look at the players who have performed at a high level while also keeping their teams above a .500 win percentage, three stand out. Two have been in MVP discussions the past few years and one is a new kid on the block.

Without further ado, here are the top three MVP candidates in the NBA.

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Back in 2012, James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets, immediately becoming the franchise’s cornerstone. Fast forward five years and Harden has made himself into an MVP contender every season over the past three years. This year Harden might be playing the best basketball of his career. He is averaging 31.5 points and 9.8 assists per game.

The Beard is also shooting the highest percentages of his career from the floor and from three-point range. Harden has improved on what he did last season, but it is worth noting that he has only played in 7 games with new teammate Chris Paul.

With Paul finally back from injury, it should be interesting to see if that will disrupt his flow as the season goes on. With the Rockets sitting at the top of the Western Conference with a 17-4 record, Harden would most likely take home the MVP if the season were to end today.

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This next guy should not surprise anyone. LeBron James again is putting on an MVP level performance each night. Right now The King is averaging 28.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game. Not only that but James too has the highest field goal and three-point percentages of his career 23 games into the season. His team got off to a slow start of 5-7, but have now won 11 games in a row and James has played a big role in their recent success. James is due to win another MVP and at 32-years-old he isn’t getting any younger. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the season he is holding up his 5th MVP award.

The final player worthy of MVP consideration is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo had a breakout season last year earning him a trip to his first all-star game. But The Greek Freak isn’t done yet.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Antetokounmpo is putting together his best year as a pro averaging 29.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. This is a player that looking at his stats doesn’t do him justice. With his 6’11 frame, he can pass and dribble the ball like a guard and protect the rim like a center. And the way his scores makes other NBA players look like children guarding him. It is like nothing ever seen before and is a must watch for basketball fans. His team, the Milwaukee Bucks, are currently 6th in the Eastern Conference with a 12-9 record.

It is hard to say he doesn’t deserve MVP, but the two players mentioned previously are just beating him out. If he continues to play at a high rate and helps his team improve he could easily bring home the MVP at the end of the season. At only 23-years-old, his name will likely be in the MVP conversation for years to come.

 

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Mid-Season NBA MVP Race