The 2019-20 NBA MVP featured a duel between eventual winner Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 'King' LeBron James.
In the next edition of the competition, there could be other contenders for the MVP. That is because the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will be coming back from long-term injuries, and young superstars like Luka Doncic could also be in the fray.
However, that is not to say that for the 2021 NBA MVP, Antetokounmpo and LeBron James would not be in the reckoning. Certainly, the duo would be out there in contention along with a few others. In this article, we will take a look at the top 5 early contenders for the 2021 NBA MVP award.
Top 5 early contenders for the 2021 NBA MVP award
As per oddsmakers, there is already an established early pecking order of candidates for the 2021 NBA MVP, with the names at the top of the list not a surprise to any NBA fan. Without further ado, let us have a look at the top five candidates for the 2021 NBA MVP award.
#5 Stephen Curry
Already a two-time NBA MVP, Stephen Curry could be a contender for the 2021 MVP as well because his regular-season numbers are usually MVP-worthy, and he tends to make a positive impact for his team.
After winning his first NBA MVP in the 2014-15 season and following it up with another in the next campaign, Curry's numbers would have put him in contention for the award in the three seasons that followed (except for the 2019-20 campaign when he played only five games).
However, Curry's NBA MVP chances from the 2016-17 to the 2018-19 campaign were hindered because of the presence of Kevin Durant alongside him. Nevertheless, Curry led the team in points per game in each of these three campaigns and led the team in Player Efficiency Rating in two seasons.
With Klay Thompson alongside him this time, Curry would try to return the Golden State Warriors to their 2014-2016 glory years while eyeing another shot at the NBA MVP. Not surprisingly, the player is among the top five contenders for the 2020-21 NBA MVP, according to various odds.
#4 Anthony Davis
Fresh off his first NBA championship with the LA Lakers, the team leader in points and PER in the 2019-20 season and certainly the best defender in the team's roster, Anthony Davis, will always be a candidate for the NBA MVP if he is able to maintain his staggering level.
Of course, the upcoming season for the LA Lakers will probably be different than the last one as the team will look to get into the NBA Playoffs with better regular-season form. The Lakers might have been a little 'relaxed' in the regular season last campaign as they did not feel the pressure to up their game.
Nevertheless, Davis' 2021 NBA MVP chances could be the same as they were last year. That is because he has LeBron James playing alongside him and controlling the team's attack.
Obviously, having the best player on the planet as a teammate is a luxury that no other player in the league has at the moment. However, that makes it hard for Davis to win an NBA MVP unless his regular season is utterly dominant, perhaps more than it was last season.