Stephen A. Smith reveals his list of top 5 MVP candidates as of today and has James Harden ranked number 1, ahead of Damian Lillard.
The 2021 MVP race will go down as one of the most interesting in recent NBA history. The last time there were a multitude of candidates all worthy of being honored with a regular season MVP was perhaps in 2017 where Russell Westbrook eventually edged out Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and James Harden.
This season, due to injuries and stellar seasons from guys like Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard, the MVP race is as close as it could possibly get. Prior to the All-Star break, it seemed as though Joel Embiid would run away with the award as he was averaging 30 and 12 while leading Philly to the number 1 seed out East.
However, with both Embiid and LeBron James going down with injury, the MVP race has been blown wide open.
Stephen A. Smith lists out his top 5 MVP candidates, with James Harden leading the way
Stephen A. Smith took to Twitter to let everybody know who he believes deserves to win the MVP, based on the current state of the NBA.
Due to injuries to LEBRON, Embiid and KD that have them out, here my Top-5 MVP list right now: pic.twitter.com/xIQcd7LgIY
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 24, 2021
James Harden at number 1 makes sense, simply for the fact that he’s been the best player on arguably the best team in the league. He’s taken a short-handed Brooklyn Nets team and led them to a top 3 seed out East. He’s putting up averages of 25 points and 11.2 assists while terrorizing defenses nightly.
Damian Lillard seems to have enamored NBA fans and analysts with his play this season, dropping 30 and 6 on a nightly basis. He has been doing so while being the clutchest player in the league. Thus far, he’s leading the injury-ridden Blazers to a winning record to stay afloat in the loaded West.
Nikola Jokic is fresh off of a Western Conference Finals trip and seems to have taken his 4-1 loss to the Lakers personally. The ‘Joker’ has been on a tear, putting up near 30 point triple-doubles on the regular. The Nuggets are primed to climb the standings with the Clippers not looking like themselves and the Lakers facing major injuries to their two superstars.
Does Giannis Antetokounmpo or someone from the Jazz have a chance?
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s case for MVP hinges on the fact that if he were to win it in 2021, he would be one of four players in NBA history to win it 3 seasons in a row. The only other players to have achieved this feat are Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Larry Bird, all of who have won at least one championship in one of those 3 years.
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are interchangeable as MVP candidates. Both of them provide an immense amount of value to the Utah Jazz’s offense and defense, respectively. It feels quite necessary to include a Jazz player on this list as they have held the best record in the league for months now.