Sleeper Candidates for NBA MVP

Spread the love

The NBA Season is a little over a month away, and while we know the usual candidates for MVP, the LeBron’s, KD’s and Steph Curry’s of the world, there are usually a few players who you don’t expect to join the conversation that have career years and end up as a possible winner. Last year it was Steph Curry who had the best year of his career, leading the Warriors to the best record in the West and winning MVP. In past years we’ve seen players like Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Derrick Rose win an unexpected MVP award. This year it’s expected that Anthony Davis will join the race, but today, I’m going to go over guys that albeit are good players, have never been in the MVP conversation and could join it this year if they defy expectations.

Sleeper Candidates for NBA MVP

1. Chris Bosh – Miami Heat

The Heat are expected to do very well this year according to the national media, but for them to meet those expectations, the play of Chris Bosh will be at the utmost importance. Dwyane Wade showed big signs of slowing down last season, missing 21 games. Chris Bosh is also coming off an injury last season, missing the last quarter of the year due to blood clots, so it’s going to be tough to judge how much of the season he’s actually going to play, and how effective he’ll be. But since it’s expected that Wade will miss a decent amount of time once again this year, Chris Bosh will be the focal point in that offense, and if the Heat prove to be a top 3 team in the East, Bosh will be a contender.

2. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors

DeMar DeRozan doesn’t get nearly enough attention as he should, mainly due to the national media’s disregard of the sole Canadian team, but DeRozan has been a steady improver every year he’s been in the league. The expectations for this Raptor team is the lowest it’s been in years due to them getting swept in last years playoffs, so that could set up well for DeRozan’s MVP chances. The one part of his game that he’s lacked in his career up to this point is a 3-point shot, but from what I’ve seen in his Drew League highlights as well as his play during the Team USA Summer Showcase, it looks like he’s really improved his shot from the outside. If he can hit it consistently, he could be a possible 25 point per game scorer this year. That by itself would put him in the MVP conversation.

3. Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers

Damian Lillard is the only returning starter from last year’s Blazer team, which means many (including myself) are expecting the Blazers to fall out of the playoff race this upcoming season. Lillard now will be the unquestioned #1 option on offense and will have to be the leader of this now young, rebuilding team. He’s always shown that he can score with the best of them in this league, and if he can play at the level he’s capable of and somehow keep the Blazers in the playoffs, I would expect him to be a candidate for MVP.

4. Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs

Even with the Spurs acquisition of LaMarcus Aldridge this summer, the Spurs are expected to make Leonard a big focal point of this offense. Last year he was 2nd in the DPOY race, but he’s also always been a solid option on offense. With the increased role and expected resting of their vets, Leonard will have to play really well to keep the Spurs at the top of the Western Conference. If it does happen, it’ll still be hard for Leonard to join the MVP race because of the team style of play the Spurs have, so he’ll have to at least get his first All-Star appearance to do it.

5. Paul George – Indiana Pacers

After suffering a horrific leg injury in the summer of 2014, George missed most of the season and now looks to be fully healthy. The Pacers are still expected to be a playoff team, but with the rise of many other Eastern Conference teams, the Pacers could find themselves at the bottom of the playoff pack. George before the injury had shown himself to be one of the best 2 way players in the league, but you never really know how a certain player will come off this kind of injury. So if he can get back to his old level of play and get the Pacers into the top half of playoff teams in the East, George could hoist that trophy.