The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is the most prestigious award in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The chosen player is the one who has benefitted his or her team the most and has played with the most vitality and skill. There are several players who possess both of these attributes and qualify as candidates for this award.
Stephen Curry, one of the most versatile players and highest scoring point guards in the NBA, is the leader and leading scorer of the Golden State Warriors, the number one ranked team in the NBA. He and shooting guard Klay Thompson in the backcourt have established their dominance in their entire league, averaging a combined 45.8 points per game. Not only is Curry adept at ball handling, but he is also known for his ability to consistently make three point shots. On Jan. 7, Curry made his 1000th career three point shot, marking him as the fastest player to score 1000 three point shots. Curry’s innate skill for the sport led him to acquire the most votes in the All Star voting process, beating out last years winner, Lebron James. Curry having the ability to lead the number one team in the NBA is more than enough of a reason for him to win the MVP title.
Originally out in the beginning of the season plagued by a hand injury, Westbrook came back with a burning passion to take the Oklahoma City Thunder to the finals. The Thunder is continuing to play without its star small forward, Kevin Durant, but Westbrook’s level of play seems undeterred. In fact, his level of play is the same as last year, if not better. Westbrook is the league’s leading scorer, is fourth in number of assists and third in number of steals. Westbrook’s sheer athleticism has marked him as one of the most dangerous guards in the NBA. He is fast, physical and not afraid to draw fouls when he plays. Westbrook has been acknowledged as one of the best guards in the NBA, only comparable to Warriors guard Stephen Curry. The Thunder started off with a 4-12 record during the time span Westbrook was injured; regardless, it has since made a tremendous effort to be back in the playoff run and is now the eighth seed in the western conference. Westbrook’s ability to lead the Thunder and his extraordinary level of play put him at the top of the list of players who deserve the NBA MVP title.
The egotistical left-handed shooting guard James Harden has lived up to being “the best all around player in the NBA,” according to a statement he declared at a NBA 2K15 press conference. During the time he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was overshadowed by stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. However, since being traded to the Houston Rockets, the former sixth man has made a name for himself. Harden is the second leading scorer in the NBA, averaging about 26.8 points per game, and is the fifth leading player in steals. “The Beard” is feared as one of the most dangerous scorers in the game as his array of offensive moves is unparalleled by that of any other player’s. He is efficient at drawing fouls, creating space for himself to shoot and knocking down three point shots. Harden currently leads the league in the number of assists leading to three point shots. During the 2013-2014 season, Harden’s MVP race was hindered by his lack of defense. However, his increased aggressiveness in the paint is one of the Rockets’ main reasons for them being one of the most feared teams in the league. With Harden’s incredible offensive play and improved defense, he has proved himself to be a worthy MVP contender.
Lebron James has already been the MVP four times during his 12-year career, so it would not be a surprise if he was chosen again for this prestigious honor. When James returned to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was difficult for him to adapt to the new players on his old team. Originally, James played with a team that revolved around him. He played with mediocre players who had to fit to James’ needs in order for the team to succeed. However, with the addition of superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, it has been hard for James to learn that he is no longer the focus of the team. James even had to undergo a diet which changed his large, muscular frame to that of a lean, more agile frame in order to fit in a new role that complements Love’s and Irving’s playing style. James’ new role seems to benefit the Cavaliers as they are now the second seed in the Eastern Conference. James led the Cavaliers in beating the number one team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors, and placing them in second place the Eastern Conference. James is third in averaging points per game and surpassed Scottie Pippen as the forward with the most assists. His exceptional play this year as well as his leadership role in a new team make James a worthy contender for the 2014-2015 MVP.