2014-2015 Most Valuable Player Preview
The two best players in today’s association battled it out for last season’s Most Valuable Player award. LeBron James was having another stellar individual season with Miami, but Kevin Durant unloaded a vicious and historic scoring streak while leading Oklahoma City in Russell Westbrook’s absence that contributed to his deserving recognition (and one of the greatest acceptance speeches we’ll ever see).
For Durant and James, the tide has changed a bit. Durant will miss the first portion of the season with an injury and LeBron is back home in Cleveland with new teammates and a new atmosphere. Will the two still be at the peak of the MVP conversation? You better believe it.
But if there were to be some kind of subtle paradigm shift, if there was someone who could emerge as a legitimate candidate to challenge Durant and James for MVP glory in the 2014-2015 season, well, how about I just give my four top potentials:
The first season Blake Griffin had under new Clippers head coach Doc Rivers made him arguably the third best player in the entire league last year, and he received the majority of third place votes behind Durant and James for MVP. Griffin’s progression has continued with his visibly improved jump shooting that has had observers raving throughout the preseason. It seems inevitable that the better Blake Griffin becomes, the more equipped the Clippers will be to make a title run. Chris Paul once said himself that he thinks their team will “go as as far as Blake goes”, maybe an MVP kind of season is what they would need to reach that pedestal. At this point, Griffin is capable.
Rose looks perfectly healthy and balanced after getting his feet under him with Team USA this summer. Regardless if he’s as forceful and dominant as he was in his 2011 MVP campaign, I think Rose can emerge as a candidate for the award this season if he can consistently and healthily lead the Bulls to the successful outing they’re now built for. The fearless mentality looks renewed in Rose. The less shy and more comfortable he becomes the closer he gets to his MVP form or better.
The proclaimed best point guard and leader in the game will have a chance for his first Most Valuable Player award if his running mate Blake Griffin doesn’t beat him to it. Paul simply has to be himself to be considered, and a second year under Doc Rivers should sharpen up his team’s offensive capabilities. If Paul takes control, as he’s accustomed to doing, and continues to dominate his position along with the regular season at the Clippers helm, he’ll easily be considered as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
Westbrook is the proverbial wild card in virtually any basketball scenario, and so he becomes just that in this season’s MVP race. Last season it was Kevin Durant playing without Westbrook for the first six weeks of the season, and now the roles have reversed. Now the Oklahoma City Thunder are under the primary leadership and dictation of Russell Westbrook. Whatever you choose to make of that, we know that Westbrook will attack this challenge of carrying his team while Durant is out, and with the right approach, MVP talks will give way.