NBA Picks: Looking At The MVP Race Entering All-Star Break

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 5:04 PM UTC

The NBA season is already well past the halfway point and it feels like we’re starting to see some real separation between the top MVP candidates. 

<p>The last time James Harden didn’t score 30 or more points in a game was back on December 11. That’s two months ago. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokoumpo is leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA and dominating on both ends of the floor. The two have been the most likely candidates for most of this season, however, one other player has seemingly entered the fold.</p><p>Oklahoma City’s Paul George has now posted over 40 points six times this season, and the Thunder, who were once struggling, are in poll position for home-court advantage in the early rounds of the West playoffs. After a recent win against Portland, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard also alluded to George being in the MVP conversation.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Damian Lillard on Paul George playing at another level right now: &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;“He’s on a different level. After watching him over the last 10 games or so, I catch a lot of their games, and then seeing him tonight, that dude is MVP. If they keep this up he’s MVP.\"&lt;/p&gt;— SneakerReporter (@SneakerReporter) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;February 12, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>Currently, George sits at <a href="" rel="nofollow">14/1 odds to win MVP </a>and that’s third behind Harden and Antetokoumpo. But, as we’ve seen in years past, the MVP is about narrative and recency bias. If George continues to post up career-highs while influencing the Thunder’s outcomes late in games like he has done in the past month or so, he could end up as this season’s MVP. Let’s not forget, Harden has Chris Paul back, Antetokoumpo is already in pole position out East and has to find shots for his new teammate Nikola Mirotic. In a sense, there’s not much more these two can do to add to their narrative other than continuing what they’re doing.</p><p>Sometimes, especially towards the end of a season, that can get taken for granted and potentially allow other players to enter the conversation. In this case, it’s George. If he can get hot and continue playing as well as he has, leading the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Thunder to a second or third place position </a>in the Western Conference, it would be tough to disregard his status as a potential MVP.</p>
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