Russell Westbrook, point guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is the NBA’s leader in triple-doubles with 34 and needs only seven more to tie Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41. If Westbrook can average 21.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists in his final 12 games, he will become the second player in NBA History to average a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The race for the award seems to become more exciting as the final games are played.
James Harden, point guard, Houston Rockets
James Harden has been playing lights out since the season started and it is crazy to think that Harden was not on an All-NBA Team last year. Harden had another impressive stat line when the Rockets faced the Nuggets in Houston. Harden put up 39 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and made the eventual winning shot. Harden is the league’s second leading scorer behind only Russell Westbrook. At the end of the season when they look at both candidates for the award, Harden might have the slight edge since the Rockets have a better record.
Kawhi Leonard, small forward, San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard is arguably the league’s most quiet player since Tim Duncan retired. Just because Leonard is quiet off the court does not mean he’s not a threat to other teams. The NBA champ, Finals MVP and the reigning back-to-back defensive player of the year is looking to make it a three-peat for the award. Leonard is also the Spurs’ most valuable player in every aspect. Leonard is averaging a career-high in points this season with 26 per game and assists with 3.4 a game. Leonard is this year’s dark horse candidate for the award, but do not be surprised if somehow he edges out Harden and Westbrook for the MVP.