The NBA Playoffs has just begun with Golden State and Boston coming in as the top-seeded teams. Last year I was almost certain Curry would battle LeBron for the championship, but this time there is a much more tightly packed field as you can make the case for many teams to hoist the trophy. I have the Spurs vs. the Cavaliers in the finals, with Kawhi Leonard prevailing in six games, despite not having Tim Duncan.
Despite the MVP ballot already being closed, who was the most valuable player over the entire season including the playoffs is still up for grabs in my opinion. Russell Westbrook is currently the frontrunner, but there are questions still surrounding him winning games, which James Harden has done more this year.
No one can deny that Russel Westbrook was the best player of the regular season, but one can make the case that he isn’t necessarily the most valuable player. But, despite averaging a triple double and scoring more than thirty points per game, the Thunder have lost thirty-five games and have only scored 0.8 points more than their opponents.
Because of this, Westbrook could be in some trouble if he gets beaten in his series vs. the Rockets and James Harden, which would show that Westbrook had a freak ability to put up incredible stats, but unable to get the job done. This being said, I believe that if the Thunder is able to defeat the Rockets, Westbrook should be the 2017 MVP.
Out of all of the MVP contenders, Kawhi Leonard is the best all-around player, which is important when looking at one’s value. Once again he is probably the best defender in the NBA and this year he has also had a very good offensive year averaging above 25 points per game. According to the player efficiency rating, Leonard is a strong MVP candidate and has a higher rating than any other player this year other than Russell Westbrook, who is considered a runaway MVP candidate.
The only plausible way Westbrook does not win MVP, in my opinion, is if he loses first round (which is likely because they are down 2-0), and the Spurs win the NBA Playoffs. But even if this situation does occur, Kawhi Leonard would still be a huge underdog in the MVP ballot.
Overall, I believe Russell Westbrook will win the MVP (the real one), but as I did, you can make a very compelling case for Kawhi Leonard to be the most valuable player (of the regular season and the playoffs).