Winning the Most Valuable Player award is no easy task, especially considering there isn’t a well defined and established criterion to consistently hand the award to the players that enter a given category.
Some people believe the award should be handed to the player that makes the most impact in the game, regardless of his team’s record, while others believe it should be given to the best player on the best team.
Even though that debate isn’t likely to end any time soon, we’re used to always watch the same players make the top 5 MVP candidates list, and it’s rarely given to an underdog. But, truth to be told, everybody loves a surprise, a player nobody thought that could accomplish that but winds up outplaying everybody and hopefully, we’ll get the chance to watch that next season. That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 dark horses to win the MVP.
5. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has always been a tough competitor and has grown to be a huge leader, especially now that the young Minnesota Timberwolves need a guy that’s able to lead them when it matters the most, given the lack of character their young studs have shown during crunch time.
With all the controversy surrounding the team and the fact that he may leave at the end of the season, if he’s able to take them back to the playoffs and secure a top 4 seed in the Wild Wild West, the former Most Improved Player of the Year may wind up winning the Most Valuable Player of the year.
4. Victor Oladipo
Talking about MIP winners, the defending Most Improved Player is set to take things exactly where he left them the prior season, when he earned his first All-Star nod, led the league in steals and turned the Indiana Pacers from scrubs to a very exciting team to watch for most of the season.
Oladipo knows what is like to be an underdog and the Pacers were such a pleasant surprise the prior campaign, that everybody’s rooting for them to build over that success. He’s got an outstanding work ethic and isn’t afraid of the big moment, and now that the East is up for grabs with LeBron joining the Lakers, it wouldn’t be crazy to think he may win the MVP.
3. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has proven that he was worth the wait and that he was able to live up to the hype that surrounded him. He’s a two-way stud that could lead the race for Defensive Player of the Year and why not? Even wind up making it to the MVP’s top 5 candidates for this upcoming campaign.
The Philadelphia 76ers look like a dynasty in the making and they’re bound to take revenge for their disappointing 2nd round exit in the playoffs. Embiid has put a lot of work during the offseason and he just got better as the year went by, so it would be great to see him take home the award.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is yet to reach his prime, and that’s what makes him even scarier than he already is right now. He’s probably lifting weights in the gym as we speak, as the Greek Freak has gained A LOT of muscle during the offseason and looks as a prime MVP candidate entering this campaign.
Giannis’ lone liability is his lack of jump shot. Therefore, if he’s capable of consistently knocking down shots this season, he’s going to be an even more unstoppable player than Kevin Durant is right now. If he’s able to take the Bucks to a top 3 seed in the East, he’s going to be in serious talks for the MVP.
1. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard went from hero to villain in no time, as people felt he was ungrateful and petty with the San Antonio Spurs, and truth to be told, a guy with that much talent and capable of making such an impact in both ends of the hardwood wouldn’t come as a surprise if he winds up taking the MVP.
Nonetheless, the fact that he missed the most of the prior season and that he’s going to have not only to adjust to the Toronto Raptors but also live up to the difficult task to take them back to the top seed in the East and handle the Celtics and Sixers, make him an intriguing MVP candidate for sure.