NBA GM’s vote and predict LeBron James to win 2016-17 MVP award
It’s been three years since LeBron James last won a Most Valuable Player award, but in that time, many can make the case that he’s been the MVP of the league. Golden State Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry has won the award now two times in a row, one year leading his team to a surprising 67-15 record under rookie head coach Steve Kerr and then finishing with a 73-9 record the next season.
With Curry and Kevin Durant now being teammates in Oakland, LeBron James now has every opportunity to win the award for the fifth time in his career. According to NBA General Managers, LeBron James will win the 2016-17 Most Valuable Player award.
The results of a new, pre-season survey on NBA.com indicated that 46.7% of general managers think James will take home the MVP hardware. The next highest was Russell Westbrook with 23.3% of the vote, and that was followed by Stephen Curry as well as James Harden each at 10%. Kevin Durant and Paul George rounded out the top five.
After winning an NBA Championship in Cleveland, it’s hard to see LeBron James really trying hard during the regular season and winning another MVP award. He’s arguably the most important player to his team in the NBA (next to Russell Westbrook), but Tyronn Lue and the Cavs’ coaching staff are committed to keeping James fresh for the postseason. That could mean that James will sit upwards of 10 games this regular season. Can James win the MVP award playing 72 or less games?
Westbrook makes a lot of sense in second place due to the departure of Durant and his potential to erupt as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into the postseason. If the Thunder win about 50 games and the Thunder earn a top-five seed in the Western Conference, there’s no doubt Westbrook should win the MVP award.
Not that they care about the award, but both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant drastically reduced each other’s chances of winning the award by joining forces with the Golden State Warriors. After winning 73 games, the Warriors acquired Durant, and although nobody is anticipating them to mesh quickly with a whole new bench, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them win close to 70 games (and blow a 3-1 lead again).
Paul George and James Harden are both strong candidates to win the award as well, but both players’ teams will likely not be the first or even second seed in their respective conferences. Although there’s no doubting Harden or George’s importance to their teams, both teams would have to win close to 55 games to be considered for the MVP award considering their competition for the award.
Last year, 39.3% of general managers thought James would win, but Curry ended up having one of the best regular seasons of all time and winning the award.