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When Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors last month he went in knowing he would have to sacrifice individual stats and accolades in order to make it work with his new teammates. One of the awards that KD almost dismissed himself from winning is the MVP award, something he has always been in talks for when healthy over the past six years. When Stephen Curry made a pitch for KD to join him in the Bay, he also knew that his days of shooting his way to another MVP award were likely behind him.
We’re not saying it isn’t possible, but two megastars in the primes of their career that do most of their damage on the floor by putting the ball in the hoop, likely will not be putting up the same numbers they did individually over the past few seasons and that could eliminate them from the MVP race.
Cavs forward LeBron James on the other hand has a chance to reclaim the prestigious award because of Durant and Curry having to share the shine. But, the player that is currently favored to win the 2017 NBA MVP award is actually KD’s former teammate, Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook now the favorite to win the MVP this season at 2/1. Bovada says Steph Curry next at 4/1 and LBJ at 5/1. KD next at 12/1.
— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) August 15, 2016
The back-to-back All-Star Game MVP has proven that he can carry this Thunder team to the top of the West, even without Durant in the lineup. As a matter of fact, Russ actually looks like a better and much scarier player when KD isn’t in the lineup and because of this the oddsmakers in Vegas have him as the early favorite to win next years MVP award. Via NewsOK:
Bovada.lv has the Thunder All-Star as the (very) early betting favorite to win the 2016-17 NBA Most Valuable Player award. Westbrook is listed as the 2-to-1 favorite, with Stephen Curry (4/1), LeBron James (5/1) and Kevin Durant (12/1) the next closest.
Westbrook has finished fourth in MVP voting the last two seasons. With Durant off to Golden State, it’s no surprise that Westbrook is getting buzz as the frontrunner for the award. He averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds with Durant last season, so there’s expected to at least be an increase in his points per game based on the Thunder needing to compensate for the scoring punch lost, maybe even shades of Westbrook’s scoring title from 2014-15.
Westbrook’s all-around game (18 triple-doubles last season) coupled with him becoming the focal point of the Thunder offense projects for numbers that could make it his award to lose in the eyes of voters, especially if he’s able to elevate the Thunder to 50 or more wins and a playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference.