Everyone has their own ideas about what the criteria should be for the NBA’s annual Most Valuable Player award. Some say it’s the best player on the best team, some say it’s the player whose team would suffer most if you took them off the roster, and some old school folks believe it’s just the best all-around player in the league.
Russell Westbrook won it last season thanks in no small measure to his once-in-a-lifetime statistical feat, but the race in 2018 looks to be a bit more wide open now that Paul George will be in OKC and Chris Paul has gone to Houston to join last season’s runner-up James Harden.
The Warriors’ overwhelming talent could benefit Kevin Durant as the best player on the best team, although there’s a chance he and Steph Curry could cancel each other out. Then, of course, there’s Kawhi Leonard, who has perpetually finished in the top three in voting the last few years. At the BIG3 event in Seattle over the weekend, retired legend and former league MVP Allen Iverson was asked to make a prediction for next season, and his response could very well prove prophetic.
It certainly seems strange the way voter fatigue has appeared to affect LeBron’s chances the past few years after winning the award on four previous occasions. Russ notwithstanding, LeBron’s overall numbers last season were as impressive as anyone in the running. There is, however, a potential scenario that could favor LeBron.
If the Cavs do, in fact, trade Kyrie Irving before the season starts, we could see a very different LeBron during the regular season than we have in recent years. However, at his age and with his eyes eternally set on a deep playoff run, it’s still somewhat difficult to imagine him putting in that type of consistent effort during the regular season. Either way, it’ll be a fascinating race to watch.