The NBA MVP 2017 odds have shown a close race between Russell Westbrook and James Harden for much of the season. For months now, basketball analysts, sports personalities, other NBA stars, and of course, the fans, have debated on the merits for each of these two superstars capturing the latest trophy. Both players brought their team success and ironically the two are now dueling in a best-of-seven game series for the 2017 NBA Playoffs. So who will win the MVP Award and when will the league make the official announcement for this year’s winner? Here’s the latest on the race for the award as well as the date and time the winner will be announced.
On Friday, a story from Bleacher Report noted that James Harden was once leading the odds to win the award over Russell Westbrook, last month. The site reported that as of March 6th, OddsShark had Harden at -175 odds to win the award while Westbrook was at +120 odds to win the award. Kawhi Leonard was the next closest player at +650, with LeBron actually a +1200 longshot to win this year’s award. If it happens, it would be “The King’s” fifth NBA MVP award overall and first since 2013. However, it doesn’t appear he’ll achieve that distinction based on two other out of this world seasons by two All-Star guards from the Western Conference.
So far most of the debate has been centered on the two guards who have been leading their teams all season long. Westbrook had off a historic season which saw him achieve 42 triple-doubles, the most by any player in the league. That mark surpassed the legendary Oscar Robertson. Westbrook also joined “The Big O” by averaging a triple-double for the season. For NBA history, only Robertson and Westbrook can say they’ve achieved such a feat.
James Harden’s season was nothing to sneeze at. The Houston Rockets guard also had averages of nearly a triple-double for the latest NBA campaign. Harden scored 29.1 points a game, 11.2 assists, and pulled down at least eight rebounds per contest. It was said by many analysts that not much was expected of this Rockets squad, but they somehow surged into the No. 3 seed for the playoffs this season. Much of that can be attributed to Harden, but some have pointed to veteran coach Mike D’Antoni, as well as other key pieces the team has. Still, it’s hard to argue against how great a season the former OKC guard had.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 12, 2017
Some say there are also cases to be made for LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard as well. James is a valuable asset to whichever team he plays for each and every season and has been the league’s top player for a while now. Even as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, there’s still the expectation that this is the team to beat, as they’re the reigning champions. Leonard has kept the Spurs relevant in their time after Tim Duncan’s retirement. While some may argue that it’s largely due to Gregg Popovic’s system and other talents, which is also true, without Leonard the Spurs probably wouldn’t have snagged a No. 2 seed and finished a few games under the Warriors this season.
It’s been declared by many analysts and writers such as Sekou Smith at NBA.com, that Westbrook leads the contenders for MVP. A historic season gives him the edge for an award that has been handed out for the “best overall season.” While Harden’s was also amazing, it wasn’t on the same historic level. As Smith notes, his averages of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists in a season have never been seen before. In addition, it’s hard to make a case for this Oklahoma City getting anywhere near the postseason without Westbrook on the roster this year. About a week ago, Forbes reported via William Hill that Westbrook leads the odds at -600, while Harden has +500 odds. The other top two contenders, James and Leonard, are +5000 longshots to win.
When it comes to NBA Finals MVP, that’s a different story. Paddy Power indicates James Harden has decent odds to win it, as he is listed at 12 to 1 odds, just ahead of Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving at 17 to 1 odds. However, Russell Westbrook is a longshot at 60 to 1 odds to win the award based on the expectations that this Thunder team probably isn’t going to play their way through to the championship. Leading the list is Harden and Westbrook’s former teammate Kevin Durant. The Golden State Warriors star has 15 to 8 odds to take home the award.
Until the NBA MVP Award for 2017 is officially declared fans are going to continue to debate who deserves it most. It’s gone back and forth for months between Westbrook and Harden. That argument is going to continue for a few more months as the NBA playoffs roll on and one of the two stars is eliminated from the postseason. Right now, Harden is averaging 38 points per game in the postseason, while Westbrook has accomplished back-to-back triple-doubles, one of which came in a recent win. The NBA will have a special on Monday, June 26 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time where fans will see the announcement of NBA Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and the NBA MVP 2017 award, among others.
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