2016-2017 NBA MVP Predictions

There’s plenty of speculation surrounding who will win this year’s MVP. Today, we make give our predictions. We rank how the top 5 MVP votes will fall this year.

May 10, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry with the 2015-2016 NBA Most Valuable Player trophy at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Steph Curry won his second straight MVP award. Once the Golden State Warriors started approaching the regular season wins record surpassing the previous record holder the 95-96 Chicago Bulls, it was a for gone conclusion Curry would win the MVP.

However, much has changed since last year’s regular season ended. Lebron returned glory to Cleveland by bringing a championship back to the city, Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs are another year older, and we’re already speculating about Blake Griffin’s possible free agency, which is still a year away.

With the landscape this season, the potential winner of the MVP award isn’t clear. This is the first season in a long time where there are legitimate cases for more than five players on why they have a shot at winning the MVP.

But, when we look at each situation closely we can come to a pretty good conclusion on who should win the MVP award this season.

5. Kevin Durant

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Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the NBA. Not because he scores the most points, but because he can score so effortlessly in the flow of the offensive. This is something he had to perfect playing with Russell Westbrook.

Joining the 3-point shooting offensive juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors will be great for his game.

Just three years ago, people were raving about Durant’s long range 3-point shooting when he won the MVP in 2014.

He has the best chance of leading the Warriors in scoring because of his versatility. He has more variety in the ways he can score than any other player on their roster.

But, he won’t average many assists because of their style of play.

Also, the perception is the Warriors are still Steph Curry’s team. If the numbers between Steph and Durant are close, then the voters will lean toward Curry.

4. Chris Paul

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Chris Paul has been regarded as one of the best point guards since he entered the league. However, he is approaching a Carmelo Anthony type legacy. A very good player who struggles to lift their team in the Playoffs.

Now, before he became a Los Angeles Clipper, he played in New Orleans with Tyson Chandler under Bryon Scott.

That team didn’t see much success. The all around talent wasn’t there.

But, this Clippers team, that Paul has been apart of the last few years, was expected to contend for championships coming out of the Western Conference.

This has not been the case.

The Los Angeles Clippers are facing a huge crossroads this season. At the end of next season, Chris Paul is a free agent and Blake Griffin might opt out his contract, making him a free agent too.

The Clippers have to win now.

Last season was rough. Blake Griffin was out most the year. Then, when he came back Chris Paul got hurt in the playoffs.

They ended up losing to the Portland Trailblazers in the first round.

Chris Paul played amazing last season, but finished outside of the top 5 in MVP voting even though he led the Clippers to the 4th seed.

The Clippers are positioned to be as high as a 2nd seed in the Western Conference this year.

The Clippers have their best chance to make it to the Western Conference Finals in recent memory.

However, even if they achieve success, playing with Blake Griffin could split MVP votes for Chris Paul between the two of them.

3. Steph Curry

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Steph Curry has had an unbelievable two year run. He’s won two MVP awards and a NBA Championship.

He led the league in almost every category last season.

He ranked first in player efficiency rating and led the league in scoring.

However, Curry struggled quite a bit towards the end of the playoffs last season. The bumps and bruises of the post season caught up with him in the NBA Finals.

His Golden State Warriors lost the Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers when they gave up a 3-1 lead.

In both, last season and the previous year’s Finals, Curry played less than stellar. The year he won the title Andre Iguodala won Finals MVP instead of him.

He also didn’t play for team USA in the Olympics to rest his knee, which he injured early on in the playoffs.

With all that said, the reason he might not win the MVP has nothing to do with injuries or not living up to expectations.

The reason he won’t be MVP is Kevin Durant.

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the day, there are only so many touches each player can get with one basketball.

Last year, Curry didn’t even lead his team in assists as a point guard.

The Warriors don’t play ISO ball. The offense is based on running tons of screens and heavy ball movement.

This means Curry will most likely not lead the league in scoring this season. Also, he might not lead his team in assists either.

But, don’t worry to much for Steph. The Warriors are still the best team in the Western Conference and favorites to win the title.

2. Russell Westbrook

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No Durant. No problem. The triple double machine Westbrook will be ready to do work this season.

This will be the best year of Westbrook’s entire career.

So, why is he second?

Because, basketball is a team sport and the chances of him winning the MVP on a team that at best will be a 4th seed in the West is unlikely.

The only way Westbrook can win the MVP with a team that could rank in the middle of the Western Conference would be for him to pull an Oscar Robertson.

That’s right.

He would need to average a triple double for the entire season.

This might be a much more realistic possibility than some may think.

Let’s look at last year.

Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game last season.

His rebounding numbers could easily increase to double digits this season with no Serge Ibaka, who averaged 6.8 rebounds, and Kevin Durant, who averaged 8.2 rebounds.

All Westbrook needs to do is get two more additional rebounds that Durant and Ibaka would have gotten to get 10 plus rebounds per game.

But, his assists could go down without Durant.

Also, Oladipo, who was traded to the Thunder this past summer, is a point guard. Oladipo could take some of those assists away from Westbrook as well.

The triple-double for the season is still possible, but Westbrook’s chances are slim.

That’s why Westbrook ranks 2nd on this list.

1. LeBron James

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Last year, LeBron accomplished one of the greatest basketball and sports achievements in history. He brought a championship back to the city of Cleveland. A city that has a history of losing that is unmatched.

LeBron made good on his promise to bring a title “home”. But, what’s next?

LeBron will turn 32 years old this December. Although LeBron’s still in his prime, he’s approaching the down swing of his career. This may be one of his last chances to go for the MVP before his talent begins to fade.

Last season, it seemed as though he took it personal that people considered Steph Curry the best player in the world.

After he beat Golden State, he posted on Instagram a picture of him wearing an ultimate warrior shirt and Kermit sipping tea hat. To subtly make a point that he’s the best.

This year, the king is going to re-establish his dominance. With the Durant and Curry pairing possibly negatively impacting the chances of either one of them winning the MVP award and Westbrook playing on a team that would be lucky to get a 4th seed, the floor is set for Lebron.

He didn’t play this summer in the Olympics, the first time since joining team USA he sat out.

He needed the rest and it was well deserved.

Especially, after those three legendary performances in the NBA Finals.

Last year, LeBron averaged 25.3 points per game on 52% shooting from the field. Both down slightly from the year he won his last MVP.

Despite a tiny dip, LeBron was 4th in player efficiency ratings behind Westbrook, Durant, and Curry.

Lebron seemed to coast through most of the year. He was trying to get teammates involved, they went through a coaching change, and finally meshed as a unit.

This year will be different.

The last three MVP winners have been Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Both happened to now be teammates in Golden State. The team Cleveland expects to see again in the NBA Finals.

LeBron has the chance to regain his MVP crown from these two and show that he is still the best player in the league.

This year will be Lebron’s year.

The King is back.

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