The MVP race this season likely won’t be anywhere near as divisive as last year’s incredible four-way battle between eventual winner Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and even LeBron James.
Harden, barring disaster, appears to have that award all but sewn up thanks to the Cavs’ disastrous month of January severely hurting LeBron’s case. This year, the race to watch will be in the Rookie of the Year voting, as there are two clear frontrunners emerging as the All-Star break nears.
Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell are the clear cream of this year’s crop, with the Sixers and Jazz both employing two budding stars in the league. Simmons has been on top of the proverbial rookie ladder for the entire year, averaging 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, but amid the Jazz’ recent hot streak, Mitchell has closed that gap. Mitchell is averaging 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game on the season as the leading scorer on a Utah team that was desperately in need of that kind of punch off the wing in the absence of Gordon Hayward.