In just the first few weeks of the season, some players have already looked like MVP candidates. Their insane statistical outputs combined with their ability to be leaders on winning teams qualifies them for my way-too-early MVP candidates.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Season Stats: 33.9 PPG (53/52/90), 5.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1 SPG
Early this season Curry has already proven he deserves to be reentered into the MVP discussion. After he dropped 51 points on the Wizards it’s been obvious he had returned to MVP form. So far this season, Curry’s scoring has been out of this world. He leads the NBA in points per game, total points, and total 3 pointers made while shooting 52% from three. The complete ease Curry has been able to score with should automatically put him in the running for MVP.
Additionally, Curry has had to pick up the slack for is struggling teammates. Two of the Warriors big 4 have been absolutely terrible offensively leaving the offensive burden to Curry and KD. Klay Thompson is shooting sub-40% from the field and just 13% from three. Draymond Green is scoring just 8 points per game while shooting 26% from three. Not having floor spacing would hurt most players, but Curry has been unfazed. His team is 6-1 and he has hit insane shot after insane shot making him a perfect way-too-early MVP candidate.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Season Stats: 27.3 PPG (52/57/70), 13.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 3.8 BPG, 2.5 SPG
Although he was already my choice for MVP in my preseason predictions, Davis has thoroughly impressed me. Carrying the less-talented Pelicans to a 4-1 record to start the season proved his value to the team. Also, his 27.3 points per game on very efficient shooting, including 57% from three, has been a welcome surprise. Davis’ ability to run as a center has allowed the Pelicans to be 2nd highest in pace. This has been essential to their offensive success. Currently ranked 1st in points per game and 2nd in offensive rating, Davis is the primary option and the offense runs through him, as seen by his spike in assists per game. Additionally, the one game they played without him they scored a season-low 111 points.
But, his offense hasn’t even been the most valuable part of his game. Even better than his huge offensive performances has been his defensive ability. As the current league-leader in blocks per game, Davis has been an enforcer around the rim. Due to the lack of perimeter defenders, the Pelicans are constantly allowing shots in the paint. Without Davis, most of these shots would be easy layups, but he has successfully blocked or altered the majority of them. Also, his 2.5 steals per game as a big man is unbelievable. His versatility on both ends of the floor makes him one of the special players of this generation and earned him a spot on this years way-too-early MVP candidates.
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
Season Stats: 26.6 PPG (50/46/92), 8.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG
All the questions that were raised about Kawhi last year have finally been answered. Kawhi has made it obvious that he is back with a vengeance after sitting out last season with a mysterious injury. Leonard is on pace for his highest-scoring season in his career while maintaining his efficiency and elite defense. His three-point shooting is the best it’s ever been and his shot has looked better than ever. There is no doubt he deserves to be in discussions with other MVP candidates this season.
Despite being part of a new team, Kawhi has shown no fear in being the number one option. Replacing DeMar DeRozan left big shoes to fill, but Leonard has already exceeded expectations. The Raptors are off to the best start in franchise history at 6-0 thanks to Kawhi. Even though he’s already been great, he can still reach another level. Coming off of his injury Kawhi isn’t quite 100%, but once he’s fully healthy the NBA will have to watch out. Some fans may have forgotten how good Kawhi is because of the season he missed, but now there’s no denying he’s one of the very best players in the NBA.