We are near half of the season, and the MVP conversation is heating up. Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett joined in the discussion and gave us his Top 5 MVP list, excluding some usual suspects and adding two guys rarely mentioned in the MVP conversation.
KG’s five MVP candidates
Kevin Garnett knows what is up when he talks about MVP-caliber players. He won one in the ‘03/’04 season after leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 58-24 record. KG joined the early MVP favorites discussion when he posted his top picks on his Instagram story.
Interesting choices there, and all are deserving, but some usual names are missing, such as LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.
Examining The Big Ticket’s choices
KG’s picks tell us he’s been caught up with recent highlights, which factored in his MVP bets. Curry broke the all-time 3-point made record and is on track for more historical achievements this season. The Warriors are on top of the Western Conference standings without Klay Thompson.
Kevin Durant also does some heavy lifting for the Brooklyn Nets, who are still without Kyrie Irving. James Harden missed action due to health and safety protocols, but KD being KD, he led the team to the top of the Eastern Conference standings for most of the season.
I say for most of the season because the current leader in the Eastern Conference are the 24-10 Chicago Bulls. Usually, two great players on the same team cancel each other out, but KG doesn’t believe that has to be the case. Not just having DeRozan and LaVine, but having them at no.2 and no.3 tells you everything you need to know how The Big Ticket feels about the Bulls.
Sure, the Chicago Bulls are fun to watch, and the DeRozan-LaVine tandem will get even better in time. However, there’s still a lot to be played for in the season. If the duo still ranks in the top 10 or top 5 in MVP rankings, they would follow the steps of Shaq and Kobe, who did it in 2001 and 2002, Jordan and Pippen in 1996, and Shaq and Penny in 2001. That’s a tall order for anyone.
Meanwhile, LeBron James is now 37, playing at a new position - center - while still getting highlights and triple-doubles. However, the Lakers are below .500 at 18-19, clinging at the 8th spot in the Western Conference standings, affecting James’ MVP campaign. Also, 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is curiously left out of Garnett’s list. The Bucks are 3rd in the East behind the Nets and the surprising Bulls. With season averages of 27.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists, there’s a reason why NBA.com listed him as number one on the MVP ladder.
Based on team performance, if the MVP award is given today, it’s a toss-up between KD and Chef Curry. We hope KG puts out his final list at the end of the season, so we can compare notes and see if he still feels the Chicago Bulls have two of the three best players in the NBA this season.