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Home / Sports / 2019 NBA MVP Race: Where LeBron James Ranks After Joining Lakers | Bleacher Report

2019 NBA MVP Race: Where LeBron James Ranks After Joining Lakers | Bleacher Report



Melissa Majchrzak / Getty Images

Stephen Curry, The Golden State Warriors

In terms of talent, Stephen Curry may qualify as a Premier League candidate for the league's most prestigious unit prize. There are many compelling arguments that the 30-year-old Stock General is undoubtedly one of the league's top five and that he will continue to rewrite the three-point record books throughout the 201

8/19 campaign.

Curry, however, is penalized by Kevin Durant's permanent presence on the Golden State Warriors list. The little striker may not be the true face of the franchise or the linchpin on which the offensive system is built, but his well-rounded game and his prominence in winning consecutive final MVPs make him the most likely candidate for regular teams , Season MVP.

Sorry, but we will not list two players from the same team as top five candidates. And right now Curry is trying to get even steeper uphill.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

We have faith in Joel Embiid, who plays enough to get into the top league (limited to five players because a ballot has only five points) ?

If the Philadelphia 76ers Center could reduce its sales and improve its work in spot-up situations, it would transform into the generation talent that the NBA world envisioned so much. A few points that would catapult the Eastern Conference into first place and he would have a good chance of defending the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

But MVPs do not usually miss much time in their jewelry quest, and Embiid has yet to prove that he can stand the rigor of a full-season job without significant maintenance time. Even in the years 2017-18, he dressed only 63 times and could not participate in a first-round playoff series against Miami Heat due to a collision with his teammate Markelle Fultz. Without showing any more durability, he simply can not rise higher in this early phase of his increasingly impressive career.

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

This is not a blow to Kyrie Irving, not even a compliment to the entire Boston Celtics organization.

Sure, the dazzling guard could further improve the defense and become a rather willing passer-by – the latter seemed to be an early seasonal development before settling down to play a role not unlike that of the Cleveland Cavaliers , But even with these significant mistakes, his ball-handling magic and extraordinary character swings allow him to function as one of the NBA's strongest offensive forces.

The bigger problem in the MVP conversation is the perceived egalitarian nature of the Celtics, which was not exactly supported by the team, who fell just a game behind a final appearance, without operating Irving and Gordon Hayward. As long as the two established All-Stars team up with Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, it's hard for any single man to go far enough to win a serious prize.

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

Of all the men listed as contenders for the second league (or honorable mentions), Kawhi Leonard may have the best chance to blow expectations away. He was widely regarded as the frontrunner for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017-18 season – and was my personal choice for MVP – but the mysterious quadriceps injury threw everything out of hand.

What if he is perfectly healthy and motivated for the Toronto Raptors? In this situation, he could easily remind voters that he's twice Defensive Player of the Year, capable of scoring 30 points for an efficient night, making him one of the most complete units of basketball.

But we have no idea how likely that is. He might still be suffering from that pale quadriceps. He could never be the same player. He may have difficulty adjusting to a new group of teammates. He may be unmotivated because he knows that in the summer of 2019 he is ready to go to a third organization. Too much is still on the move to have confidence in his candidacy.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook was awarded MVP for his threefold double efforts in 2016/17. One year later, he finished No. 5 in voting despite an average of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 back-ups – yes, another season-long triple doubles.

That's no coincidence. The novelty is worn out. With the spotlight so long focused on him, Westbrook has been subjected to legitimate criticism of his shot-happy nature, defensive disagreements and – whether fair or not – battles that make the Oklahoma City Thunder the same of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors ,

Westbrook could copy his 2017-18 efforts forward, but this narrative will be difficult. And without changing it, he will not expand his trophy collection.

Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Victor Oladipo, Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Cities [19659023]
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