The NBA season has passed the quarter pole and with a 20-25 game sample size for most of the league’s top stars, we can safely begin talking about the MVP race. There have been those that have shown flashes of MVP-caliber brilliance, but few have put forth the sustained effort and numbers of the two players that are clearly head and shoulders above the rest.
James Harden and LeBron James are the frontrunners for this year’s MVP race, with a fairly sizable gap between them and the rest of the pack. Harden is leading the league in scoring and assists, with 31.7 points per game and 9.7 assists per game, and is doing so with a great deal of efficiency with a 45.8/40.5/86.6 shooting split. James, meanwhile, is averaging 28 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game on an insane 58.3/41.6/77.3 split.
To illustrate the gap between those two in the MVP race, all one must do is look at the latest MVP straw poll from Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post. Bontemps polled 105 members of the NBA media, some with actual MVP votes while others (like myself) do not, to see where the MVP race stands early on. The results, predictably, show Harden in the lead, followed by James, with a fairly significant gap to anyone else.