2017-18 NBA MVP odds: Three-Man Weave wonders if Mr. Triple-Double repeats
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Arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball. Plus he plays for a likely division champ. That doesn't hurt his case. Corey Kluber , as good as he's been, has not been at that level. He and Chris Sale are basically neck-and-neck for the Cy Young award. I have a hard time seeing one far ahead of the other. That said, being the best pitcher on the league's best team will help Kluber's MVP case. Another problem for Kluber: Jose Ramirez has been out of this world good this season.
He leads the AL with 86 extra-base hits and makes a ton of contact -- his A little second half slide -- Sale has a 3. As with Kluber, Sale is having an excellent season, though it doesn't appear to be the type of season required for a pitcher to win MVP. Then again, Sale is the first AL pitcher with strikeouts since Pedro Martinez in , so maybe that'll do the trick. Had Mike Trout not missed those seven weeks with a thumb injury, he likely would've been among the MVP favorites, and the Angels likely would've been much closer to clinching a postseason spot.
Trout remains the best player in baseball and he deserves a lot of MVP support. That injury is going to do him in though. Unless he can miraculous drag the Halos to the postseason this final week, that thumb injury all but ended Trout's shot at winning his third MVP.
Can Yankees' Aaron Judge steal the award with his big September? Being a legend buys one a lot of cred. Do Durant or Curry have a realistic chance of winning this award while they are teammates? The Warriors were barely a positive team when he wasn't on the floor, compared to a wrecking ball when he was.
It's funny how Curry has played the largest part in the Warriors becoming the juggernaut they are, and yet now his production is increasingly attached to Golden State's supposed "system" that wouldn't exist without him. Look, Curry led the league in net rating and offensive efficiency last season. Durant was second in both.
Had Durant not missed so much time at the end of last season, he probably would've been first-team all-defense, and his true shooting percentage was north of 65 percent. That's better than Curry's mark from his first MVP season and not too far off the head-scratching 67 percent Curry put up in his second MVP season, which was irrefutably the greatest shooting season in history.
And here we are wondering whether they have a realistic chance at MVP as teammates? Of course they do. Yeah, yeah, I know they're going to split the vote and all that, but come on. They're two of the top five players in the league playing on a team that could very well win plus games again.
If at least one of them isn't right there in the MVP conversation, it would be ridiculous. Yes, but the Warriors have to be downright dominant for it to happen. They are expected to be one of the best teams of all-time, so they might need to win plus games in order to really impress MVP voters. Durant has a better chance, even though Curry is more important to the Warriors' success.
In the minds of voters, Curry's impact is reflected only in his shooting. Even though he's also a great finisher and is not bad defensively though not a great passer. But the plus-minus, on-off impacts take a back seat to his shooting and spacing impact. Even though, Curry makes the Warriors go, applying that impact into an MVP context is difficult -- short of an injury to Durant.
Durant, on the other hand, is omnipresent. He's hyper-versatile, able to guard any position, a great passer, a finisher who dunks with the authority of a thunderbolt, and a 7-foot shooter with lethal efficiency. If the Warriors win 73 or more games? Durant's going to get the lion share's of the credit, even while those who cover the team scream to the heavens about Curry's role being more important and they're right.
To vote for Curry, one must reject a certain simple elements of value. If you're looking for proof that voters are looking at those simplistic elements, last year's winner took home the award almost entirely because he averaged a triple-double. To win, each player must get past how dominant the team figures to be, but it will be easier next season than last. And if you want proof of that? LeBron James left the Cavaliers for the Heat 's super team in He won MVP in Who is a better dark-horse candidate: Giannis Antetokounmpo or John Wall?
He's going to put up absurd numbers, and probably more importantly, he's going to do it absurd fashion. He's the kind of player who can hypnotize fans the way Curry did with his 3-pointer season or Westbrook and his triple-double average. Put it this way: If the Wizards win 50 games but still only get the No. If the Bucks win 50 games, which should be a very reasonable goal in the East, Giannis will be at the top of a lot of people's boards.
I don't think that's likely to happen, but that's why he's a dark horse. I like Wall's supporting cast better, but Antetokounmpo's all-around stats are absolutely absurd. I'm not saying he is about to average a triple-double like Westbrook did, but if he sustains the gains he made last season and improves his shooting and playmaking, he could be the most productive player in the league from a statistical perspective.
Milwaukee may need to have home-court advantage in the playoffs for him to be seriously considered, but in this conference, that is within the realm of possibility. His batting average dropped by almost 90 points from to , and his home run total was nearly cut in half. So far in the spring, though, he looks like the Bryce Harper of old. Spring training stats should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, but his six home runs thus far rank second among all players.
While most eventual MVP winners tend to be household names, we saw a pair of relative underdogs shoot up the rankings and nearly win the award in each league in He, too, finished second in his league once the season ended. Former winner Ryan Braun is a very intriguing name. The 30 bombs were the most Braun has slugged in any season since he hit 41 back in Milwaukee is likely to be sniffing around the cellar of the NL Central again in , but trade winds have been blowing around Braun for years.
Another player to keep an eye on here is Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. The former top prospect broke out last season, hitting.