LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, these are just some of the big names in the NBA that are likely to be in the conversation for the NBA MVP at the end of next season.
There are plenty of talented underrated players that may have just a sneaky chance of achieving the famous award that nobody would consider as true candidates. Here’s five players that we believe have the potential to shock the NBA world.
Phoenix Suns talented young guard, Devin Booker, has already shown he can single handily dominate a game as well as anyone. In a match against the Boston Celtics early last year, Booker scored a massive 70 points becoming the youngest ever player to score 60 points or more points in a game at the age of 20.
This year, Devin Booker reached a milestone of 4000 career points at just 21 years old, only LeBron James and Kevin Durant were younger when achieving this accomplishment.
Booker has become the centerpiece of the Suns and the star that has the potential to lift Phoenix up from the bottom of the Western Conference. Averaging a career-high 24.9 points in the 2017-2018 season, Booker has shown his loyalty to the franchise signed on for another 5 years at Phoenix.
Although he looks well off from being in the conversation of MVP due to how low the Suns are ranked but as the team develops around him and Booker grows with maturity, his chances can only improve from here.
76ers star big man, Joel Embiid, is coming off his first ever All-Stars appearance in the 2017-2018 NBA season. Embiid has a long history with injuries but if the 7-foot center can stay injury free for a complete season, there’s no limit on how far he can go with the 76ers in contention for a spot in next seasons Finals.
With a career-high 63 games played during the 2017-2018 season, Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 3.2 assists, all of which were an improvement on his 2016-2017 statistics. Alongside Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmonds, Embiid is arguably one of the 76ers most important players and someone who deserves just as much recognition.
After such a strong regular season, the Toronto Raptors would still be highly disappointed and frustrated with their poor playoffs performance that saw the Raptors be swept by the Cavaliers in just the second round. DeRozan is clearly the Raptors main star player that certainly should be considered in MVP discussion if he can produce another dominant season.
DeRozan averaged 23 points for the season while shooting at 45.6%, along with 5.2 assists and 3.9 Rebounds per game. Clearly one of the main reasons that Toronto were able to finish the season on top of the standings, DeRozan’s impact on the team was huge. If DeRozan can pull out similar numbers next season and if the Raptors are able to back up their 2018 regular season, DeRozan has every chance of winning his first ever NBA MVP.
The 5-time NBA All-Star may have missed a lot of the 2017-2018 season due to injury but is still one of the greatest and most dangerous guards when at his prime. Known for being one of the fastest players in the NBA, Wall returned in time to have an impressive playoffs series against the Toronto Raptors who finished on top of the Eastern Conference.
If the Wizards are to return to true Finals contenders, Wall is the only one that can lead them there if he can return back to his career-best form.
Damien Lillard, the 3-time NBA All-Star, has to be considered as one of the greatest point guards that are currently going around in the NBA right now. Lillard’s statistics from the 2017-2018 regular show just why he was selected as part of the All-NBA First Team selection. Averaging 26.9 points per game, 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds, Lillard led the Trail Blazers to a third-place finish in the Western Conference.
However, a poor playoffs series for Lillard against the Pelicans in the first round saw Portland exit the playoffs early after a 4-0 sweep. Lillard struggled, failing to score over 20 points in any of the four matches of the series. If Damien Lillard can have the Trailblazers contend with the likes of the Warriors, Rockets and even the Lakers next season, there’s every possibility that he’ll be in the discussion for MVP.