Column: The Race for NBA MVP Award

The Most Valuable Player award isn’t handed out until the end of the season. But with the halfway point in the season in the rearview mirror, many are already speculating who should win the award. Last year Kevin Durant deservingly won the award, but he has missed many games this season and isn’t in contention to win it in back-to-back years.

Here are my top picks for MVP in the NBA this season as of Feb. 24:

4) Russell Westbrook – This is my sleeper pick. Without Durant being a major factor this season, this has been the Year of Westbrook. Although the Oklahoma City Thunder are clinging onto the eighth spot in the Western Conference, the point guard from UCLA has been leading the charge for the Thunder and it’s actually a bit ridiculous the numbers he has been putting up.

Westbrook is second in the league in scoring with 26.1 points per game and he’s fifth in assists with eight. Those are pretty impressive numbers, right? They aren’t nearly as impressive as what he has been doing in February. Westbrook is nearly averaging a triple double with 30.6 points, 10.1 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game. He even tied his career high in assists with 17 three days ago.

If the Thunder were higher in the standings then Westbrook would be the front-runner, but if they make their way up the standings then he will definitely be in consideration.

3) LeBron James – The Cleveland Cavaliers were the most criticized team in the NBA when they started the season 20-20. LeBron even took a week or so off to regenerate his legs because he had been playing too many minutes.

Ever since he has come back from that short break, he has led the Cavs back into the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. LeBron has averaged 26.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game since returning and the Cavs are fourth in the conference.

It’s LeBron James, if his team is doing well and he is scoring efficiently, he’ll always be in the MVP conversation.

2) James Harden – Fear the Beard. Harden is putting up insane numbers this season and the Houston Rockets are third in a loaded Western Conference. Harden leads the NBA in scoring with 27.3 points per game. He also averaged above five rebounds and almost seven assists.

1) Stephen Curry – Curry is the most exciting player in the NBA. He is a stone cold killer and can pull up from 30 feet if he chooses to. If he isn’t shooting the lights out from beyond the arc he can use his sneaky handles to get by defenders and get to the rim.

Curry is averaging 23.6 points per game and he has led the Warriors to the best record in the NBA. There really isn’t any question in my mind about this as of right now. He is also averaging 7.9 assists per game and he’s leading the league in steals with 2.19 per game.

It can be argued that Curry has more weapons around him than Harden does (which is probably true), but the Warriors go as Curry does and right now, the Warriors are rolling.

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