Paul George says ‘this is my year’ to win MVP

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The race for MVP in the NBA this season feels more wide open than it has in the past. And Paul George believes the door might be open for him to sneak in.

In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio (via NBC Sports), George made it clear that it’s an individual goal for him to win the MVP this season, while stating that this is his year to go ahead and grab it.

This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. But before we get to George, let’s look at those who would appear to have a more likely shot.

The MVP award almost always goes to the best player on one of the league’s top two teams. No matter how good the Warriors might be, the fact that Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are now sharing the ball makes it likely they’ll cancel each other out.

LeBron James is unlikely to play at an MVP level all season long, because he’ll want to be fresh for what he hopes will be a seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals. Anthony Davis still plays for the Pelicans, which means there won’t be enough wins for him to enter the conversation.

Now, Kawhi Leonard could get it, because his role will increase on a Spurs team that has won at least 50 games for 17 years straight. Russell Westbrook could get it too, now that he doesn’t have to share the ball with Durant — as long as the Thunder can rack up enough wins. And don’t forget about James Harden, who finished second in the voting to Curry in 2015 and put up even better individual numbers last season.

While the Pacers aren’t necessarily favored to finish that high in the standings thanks to the Celtics and the Raptors being in their way, the East is fairly open once you get past the Cavaliers. Indiana improved its talent by adding Jeff Teague and Al Jefferson in the offseason, and the team installed Nate McMillan as its new head coach.

George averaged a career-best 23.1 points last season, to go along with seven rebounds and 4.1 assists in 34.8 minutes per contest. If his scoring numbers increase, and if the Pacers overachieve by finishing second in the East, the MVP award could be well within his grasp.