The wildest NBA regular season in recent memory officially wrapped up last week. Just as nobody would’ve predicted, the Houston Rockets finished with the best record in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers got the fourth seed, and the Minnesota Timberwolves barely snuck into the postseason. But before the playoffs get underway, let’s look at three of the league’s top MVP candidates. Honorable mentions to Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
After years and years of putting up MVP-esque numbers offensively, the beard will likely finally win the coveted award this season. When the Rockets joined the likes of other super teams with the addition of Chris Paul, many pundits wondered if Harden’s impact would be more limited than in years past. That wasn’t the case for one second. The Rockets took the league by storm, finishing with the best overall record at 65-17. Harden averaged a career-high 30.4 PPG to go along with 8.8 APG.
LeBron James has a case to win MVP every single season, and this past campaign was no exception. In fact, this might have been James’ most impressive season in a decade. The 33-year-old played every single game this season, something he had never done before in his long career. He took a tumultous Cavs team into the postseason as the eastern conference favorite. If Cleveland was to win the finals this season, it would easily be classified as LeBron’s most impressive work.
Every NBA observer was ready to put a fork in the Pelicans once superstar DeMarcus Cousins went down. It was to be yet another wasted season in the prime of Anthony Davis’ career. But instead of packing it in, the 6-foot-10 PF put together his finest year in the pros. The Pelicans finished sixth overall in a stacked western conference and the MVP would’ve been Davis’ had it not been for the incredible performances by Harden and James.