We have reached the second half of the season where a list of elite players are making their final campaigns for the 2016 MVP. 2015 MVP Stephen Curry continues to prove why he’s one of the greatest shooters of all-time, as he looks to raise his second MVP award while pursuing his second consecutive NBA title. Russell Westbrook continues to make his case for the MVP, while newcomers Damian Lillard and Isaiah Thomas look to move up a few spots. In the end there can be only one victor. One player will rise above all to become the face of the league. Who will it be?
2016 MVP Race – And the Winner is?
#10. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Team Rank: No.1 in Scoring (24.0 ppg), No.1 in Rebounds (10.3), No.1 in Blocks (2.2)
Its almost not fair how great of a player Anthony Davis is in such a short span of time. He has a knack for scoring at will and can smell a blocked shot from a mile away. Find one player in the league who you think can contain him and witness how quick they become apart of a Youtube highlight reel. Davis is a proverbial match-up nightmare for any player at the center or power forward position, and would you believe that he has added three-point shooting to his growing offensive arsenal? Davis and the Pelicans are another team clawing for the eight and final playoffs spot in the West, therefore, it could be a fight till the finish.
#9. Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics
Team Rank: No.1 in Scoring (21.6 ppg), No.1 in Assists (6.8)
Thomas lit up the stage during All-star weekend as he was within arms reach of winning the 2016 Skills Challenge Award, proving why fans voted him in as the first Celtic to represent the team since Rajon Rondo (2013). The micro machine is a daily fantasy must have, and a big reason why the Celtics are holding down the No.3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Thomas is the perfect compliment on a roster of players, who as a collective unit, can defeat any team in the league. In a league ruled by point guards, his leadership and team impact stick out like a sore thumb, more importantly, the Celtics wouldn’t be as successful without him in the lineup.
#8. DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings
Team Rank: No.1 in Scoring (27.2 ppg), No.1 in Rebounds (11.2), No.1 in Blocks (1.3)
The all-around most gifted center in the league continues to mature and elevate his game at an alarming rate. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the select few players his size who can go to work inside or bury the jump shot from the perimeter. I don’t think many people would argue that he’s the best ‘Big’ in the NBA, and has been for the last 2-3 seasons — hard to believe that he’s only been a pro for five years. The two-time NBA All-star is finally getting the recognition he deserves, however, in a league where individual numbers speak volumes, wins matter above all. While it is true that the Kings aren’t exactly vying for a top playoff spot, they are one of the few teams who still have a chance at the No.8 seed.
#7. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
Team Rank: No.1 in Scoring (25.1 ppg), No.1 in Assists (7.2), No.2 Steals (1.1)
Arguably the only player in the league who could hold his own on the basketball court or in a cypher surrounded by the best emcees in the rap game. Don’t let the the State Farm baby face fool you, Damian Lillard is an offensive assassin who shocked critics by leading his team to the sixth best record in the Western Conference without former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge. Consequently, Lillard is experiencing career highs in points per game and assists. His field goal percentage and turnovers are on the rise, however, that shouldn’t negate the fact that the Trail Blazers haven’t missed a beat and could be headed to their third consecutive postseason appearance since 2012.
#6. Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers
Team Rank: No.2 in Scoring (19.5 ppg), No.1 in Assists (9.5), No.1 in Steals (2.1)
Has there ever been an instance where Chis Paul was not in the MVP conversation? I think not. As the smallest yet toughest and grittiest player in a Clippers uniform, Paul continues to dominate the point guard position despite many eyes focused on the Golden State Warriors. Meanwhile in LA, the Clippers are quietly playing superb basketball despite their All-star power forward Blake Griffin missing in action. I view Paul as a true floor general and one of the best team leaders in the NBA, and with the acquisition of Jeff Green, Paul now has enough weaponry necessary to place his team among the few vying for an NBA title run .