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NBA 2018-19: Ranking the potential 2019 MVP candidates

Jason Mills
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless


NBA Awards Show 2018 - Backstage Photo Room
NBA Awards Show 2018 - Backstage Photo Room

The first quarter of the 2018-19 NBA season has passed already. There have been great performances, by players, and some disappointing performances as well. 

There have been trades, players sent home awaiting buyouts or a trade, two head coaches have been fired and the NBA Champions have had internal strife threaten their season.  We have seen great starts to some, of the rookie classes’, careers. Kawhi Leonard has made a strong return, with the Toronto Raptors. The Boston Celtics are just now starting to play the way many expected, after a slow start to the season.

The NBA provides great intrigue and encourages discussion every year among its fan base. Who will be the rookie of the year? Who will win the NBA Finals? Who will win the lottery pick at the draft? 

Perhaps the most intriguing discussion every season is, who is going to be the league MVP? The answer, to that question, last year was James Harden.  Harden led the Houston Rockets to a league-best 65 wins and they wound up one win shy, of the NBA Finals. Harden himself had a great season. He averaged 30.4 points per game and 8.8 assists per game.

It is usually outstanding and dominant performances in conjunction, with team success, that gets a player noticed, nominated and ultimately selected, as an MVP. Here is a look at five potential MVP’s this season.


#5 Kawhi Leonard

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets
Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets

Kawhi Leonard had a nine game season in 2017-18. An injury led to a dispute, with the San Antonio Spurs management, and a top three player, in the NBA, wound up, via a trade, on the Toronto Raptors roster. The Raptors who were already a good team, as they won 59 games last year, are re-tooled and better, with a seemingly healthy Leonard. 

The Raptors are 21-7 and own the best record, in the NBA, in large part to Kawhi Leonard.  Leonard is defensively dominant. His offensive assault, on opponents, is impressive, as well. He is averaging 26.1 points per game, 8.3 rebounds and 3 assists per game over his first 22, in a Raptors uniform. He shoots 38.1% from three-point range and 48.8%, from the field overall. 

Leonard also averages nearly two steals per game. Should this pace continue, and the Raptors win 60 or more this season, Kawhi Leonard is the league MVP. It would be impressive, for a player, coming off the injury he had last year and, in his first year, with a new franchise. However, Kawhi Leonard is a former NBA Finals MVP and multiple time all-star.

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