Wednesday, 4 November 2009

NBA Preseason MVP Candidates

LeBron James captured his first NBA MVP title in the 2008-2009 title, cementing his status as the best basketball player in the world right now. He has to be high up on a list of candidates heading into the 2009-10 season as well. His Cavaliers are expected to be one of the top contenders for the title this season, and being on a successful team is key to winning the award. James is the most athletically gifted player ever in the NBA. He can finish better than anyone else, as well as being an excellent rebounder, passer, and defender. With each passing season, it seems like another weakness in his game has been shored up, so it will be interesting to see how he can improve on last season.

Kobe Bryant is another annual contender for the award, as he will be playing on the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, a team that is the favroties to repeat. Bryant has lost some of the explosiveness of his younger days, but he makes up for it with craftiness and smarts. He has a great jumper, and is very creative about getting it off in many different situations. He has started to share the ball more and more, highlighting his skills as a passer. The numbers, star power, and wins will be there, which is why you can't count otu Kobe Bryant for the MVP award.

Dwyane Wade was magnificent last season, leading an otherwise bad Miami Heat team to the NBA playoffs. He puts his body on the line every night, and no guy is better at getting to the hole and drawing contact. He is a great teammate, getting others involved (over 7 assists per game last season) and playing staunch defense. If his body can withstand the pounding that he takes, he will be high up on the list of MVP candidates.

Dwight Howard continues to grow every year, and his Magic team will again be one of the strongest contenders in the East. Howard is the best rebounder and shot blocker in the NBA, and his offensive game seems to get a little bit better every season. Howard is an athletic freak down low, with size, speed, and strength that you normally don't ever see for men his size. With a lot of help from teammates, Howard should put up huge numbers once again, and will likely lead the league in rebounds.

These are just four of the contenders for MVP. Though it is possible that someone like Chris Paul or Kevin Durant will sneak into the race and garner some votes, it seems likely to me that as we embark on the 2009-10 season, the MVP will be one of these four guys.