PBT is previewing the 2015-16 NBA season by tackling 51 big questions that we can’t wait to see answered once play tips off. We will answer one a day right up to the start of the season Oct. 27. Today’s question:
Who will win MVP?
Last season, before the games that mattered tipped off, it felt like MVP would be a two-man race, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Nobody saw Stephen Curry taking the steps he did, nor James Harden stepping up when every other Rocket went down. It became a two-man race nobody had expected before the season.
Who will step up this year? Or will the favorites rise to the top (which is what we all pick)? This season the MVP race feels far more wide open, the oddsmakers see it that way. So we asked the PBT staff who their predictions for MVP would be, and for once they all agreed.
Kurt Helin — LeBron James
This is a boring pick. It would be far more fun to say Durant will bounce back, or Anthony Davis will make that big a leap, or Curry will repeat — and any of that could happen. This is a fairly open race. But I think LeBron is on a mission and will have his best all-around season, he will be the best player on the best team, average 25-7-7, and pick up his fifth MVP award.
Dan Feldman — LeBron James
The race looks a little more open than recent years, with Anthony Davis ready to rise and Kevin Durant healthy. But it has bothered LeBron to lose this award the last couple years. He’s also readying himself for the regular season. I think he makes it count.
Sean Highkin — LeBron James
There’s no perfect choice going into the year. Kevin Durant will be on a mission after missing most of last season, but foot injuries are tricky and I don’t trust he can stay healthy for a full year. Anthony Davis’ Pelicans might not win enough games, which unfortunately tends to factor into the voting more than it should. The past few years, I’ve loved Blake Griffin as a sleeper pick, but he and Chris Paul will probably split votes out of the Clippers’ roster. This is one of the last years LeBron will be a serious candidate — he’s 31 and will inevitably start to decline physically soon. The Cavs are starting the year without Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, and with Kevin Love limited at the very least. Tristan Thompson’s contract situation still hasn’t been resolved. So, we’re back to where Cleveland was in the playoffs, with James having to do everything himself. If the Cavs get a high seed with all of these setbacks, it’ll be hard to argue James doesn’t deserve it.