2015 NBA MVP: A Closer Race Than We Think

In the past month alone, there have been some amazing performances from the top players of the NBA. With James Harden carrying his team to a 46-23 record and averaging 26.9 points 7.0 assist and 5.8 rebound per game, it would be easy to cast your vote now and give it to Harden before the season ends. But then you would have to look at the last month and understand that Russell Westbrook has made a statement not only for now but also for future seasons.

Westbrook has been on a tear of late, finishing with some amazing performances by dropping an average of 32.1 points, 10.7 assist and 9.4 rebounds since the 2015 All-Star break, and did we forget to mention the 8 triple-doubles in the last 17 games, in which at one point in time he had 4 straight?

Also, we cannot count out the NBA’s best team as far as record, which has been lead by point guard Stephen Curry, one of the Splash brothers, or Chef Curry to some people due to his amazing dribbling skills. Curry has averaged 23.3 points, 7.9 assist and 4.3 rebounds per game this season, and seems to be on every SportsCenter Top 10 with his finesse dribbling, passing and scoring.

Of course the last but not least, the King himself, LeBron James, in most people eyes is having a mediocre year in Cleveland, and by mediocre we mean 25.9 points, 7.3 assist and 5.8 rebounds per game. Come on now, knowing that if any other player in the league averaged these numbers they would be considered the MVP already.

Here is a breakdown of the four leading NBA MVP candidates for 2015.

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4 James Harden - Houston Rockets

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So why is the 2015 NBA MVP race closer than we think? Because people have already figured James Harden is well deserving of the MVP this season. He's climbed in scoring, assists, and rebounds per game this season, which is his best season average in all three of these categories so far in his career and without the presence of Dwight Howard, he has literally put his team on his back, carrying them to the playoffs.

His season stats alone speak for themselves, and James Harden made a statement last Thursday, March 19th, 2015 when the Houston Rockets hosted the Denver Nuggets. Where James Harden ended with 50 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assist, which just so happen to be the night that Houston honored the 1994 and 1995 championship teams. He gave the fans more than they paid for, because when realizing that he was close to 50, he simply made a corner three pointer with three defenders on him look effortless. He also was the Player of the Month in back to back months in December and January. So his resume for the season speaks for itself. James Harden is currently 2nd in scoring, 8th in assists, and 6th in steals.

3 Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder

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The reason you cannot count out Russell Westbrook is because he has filled the stats sheet with his amazing performances in the past month, and is the ideal fantasy player on anyone’s roster. He has scored double digits in 52 straight games this season and has not scored less than 12 points in the past 17 games.

That happened again last Sunday against Miami, and being that it was a blowout win, it did not require him to contribute more in the scoring column. Instead he contributed in other ways by finishing with a season high 17 assist and 10 rebounds to match those 12 points in just 34 minutes, and that made this his second consecutive triple double in as many days. That's a total of 10 triple-doubles and 26 double-doubles so far this season in only 55 games, which puts him on pace to get 12 or more triple-doubles, and 30 or more double-doubles before the season ends.

Because The Oklahoma City Thunder are fighting for a playoff spot, Westbrook is leading them there. In comparing his triple-doubles to the league, the second person behind him is none other than James Harden, who has only 3 this season, and is tied with second-year player Michael Carter-Williams from the Milwaukee Bucks. Westbrook was also The Westerns Conference Player of the Month in February and is currently leading the league in points per game and triple-doubles. He also is 4th in assist, 2nd in steals and 38th in rebounds.

2 Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors

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Stephen Curry, a member of the NBA team with the best record, the 56-13 Golden State Warriors, has had a great season so far and still has a say in this year's MVP discussion. He has had only 2 single digit scoring nights this season, 20 double-doubles and has already guaranteed his team home court advantage in the Western Conference and looking to make it home court throughout the playoffs. Curry was the Western Conference Player of the Month in November and lead his team to 16 straight wins at one part of this season, making it the second longest streak this season behind the Atlanta Hawks, who did not lose in 19 straight.

Stephen Curry is also a strong candidate this year because he makes the teams around him better, which is what lead Derrick Rose to win his MVP in the 2010-2011 season. If you compare their numbers, Derrick Rose went for 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds that year and Stephen Curry has gone for 23.3 points, 7.9 assist, and 4.3 rebounds this season, leading one to think; if that was good enough then, it's good enough now. That was also a year he took the MVP from LeBron, which would have made it 3 in a row. Stephen Curry is 7th in scoring, 6th in assists, and 1st in 3 points made and free-throw percentage.

1 LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers

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King James, 4-time MVP, had a slow start at the beginning of the season and had to get used to his new teammates this year, but has shown us time and time again that he is still the best player in the NBA, hands down. By teaming up with 2 other All-Stars, you would think that it would make an impact in your stats, well that’s what happen to Chris Bosh in Miami, and what's happening now to Kevin Love, but it never changes Lebron’s numbers for some reason.

Although his numbers don't match his past MVP years, it's still hard to count him out. He is 250 points away from breaking 25,000 career points, 150 assists away from the top 25 in assists, he's the top 134 in rebounds, and also leads the NBA for most all-time assists as a small forward, in only 12 years. Did we forget to mention he shoots almost 50 percent from the field?

On top of his 19 double-doubles, never count out the King, especially when most valuable player is up for grabs. Also being that he was The Player of the Month in the Eastern Conference in February, the end of the season will separate the men from the boys. LeBron is the oldest of these four, and knowing that he is chasing Jordan for his 5 NBA MVPs, do not expect anything less than greatest from The King. Lebron James is 3rd in scoring, 7th in assist, and 20th in steals this season.

To be an MVP, they say you have to have a great season, from beginning to end, although numbers never lie, the race is closer than the numbers suggest. James has been here before so he knows what it takes to bring it home, and the other 3 have only seen the Maurice Podoloff award. We expect the last 12 games to be just as amazing as this year as already been. All candidates deserve the MVP award but like they always say, may the best man win. Who do think is most deserving??

Sources: stats.nba.com, espn.go.com

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