Tha Sports Junkies 101

NBA MVP Dark Horse Picks

MVP photo by David Cheung / via Flickr.


When the 2016/17 NBA season begins, we know the guys who are gonna be in the MVP discussion from the get go; Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. But who could be a sleeper that rises above to take home the trophy and surprises everyone?

  1. Damian Lillard– The Blazers added 2 much-needed pieces in Evan Turner & Festus Ezeli. If Lillard keeps lighting teams up every night and helps the Blazers get rolling with their new roster, I could see them surprising everyone and Lillard could shock the league by taking the MVP home next year.
  2. Paul George– In his first full year back from his horrific injury, PG13 was rolling. With the additions of Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague, and Thad Young, I expect the Pacers to be a top 2 team in the East. If PG is able to stay on the court, I think he could be in the conversation for MVP at season’s end.
  3. Blake Griffin– Blake isn’t a huge dark horse, but I still think he’s not looked at as an MVP candidate anymore. If Blake stays healthy, he will be top 5 in the voting. The Clippers have enough talent to be a top team in the West, and Blake can impact the game majorly in so many ways.
  4. Kyrie Irving– The Cavs should be great next year, but what if LeBron starts turning the team over to Kyrie? What if Kyrie’s defense, rebounding, and play making drastically improves? He might be the biggest dark horse. LeBron isn’t slowing down much yet, and still should put up his 25/7/6 numbers at least but it’s an interesting and somewhat possible thought.
  5. Kawhi Leonard– With Tim gone, I don’t know how the Spurs will react. But what if Kawhi keeps getting better offensively to go along with his great defense? He could slip into the conversation as a legitimate contender.

Now I’m not saying one of these 5 guys will be the MVP, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is able to sneak up and claim the trophy.

With Durant now in Golden State, I don’t think we’ll see Curry 3-peat as the MVP and I don’t even see Durant winning it on such a stacked team either.

James Harden‘s team is in a kind of rebuilding phase, so he probably doesn’t win.

Anthony Davis‘s Pelicans probably don’t win that many games, so he’s not likely to me.

That leaves Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Chris Paul as my front-runners, with these 5 as the dark horses.