2014 NBA Predictions: Top 5 Undrafted Players Most Likely to Make an NBA Roster: Last year, the San Antonio Spurs denied LeBron James and the Miami Heat a three-peat by defeating the two-time reigning champs in just five games. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant denied James a third straight MVP Award. Entering the 2014-15 NBA season, James and Durant figure to be among the frontrunners for the MVP Award once again, but a broken foot for Durant and a move back to Cleveland for James could open the door for someone else to sneak in. With that in mind, here is a closer look at the top contenders for the 2014-15 NBA MVP Award.
He has won the award in four of the last six seasons, and LeBron James isn’t finished being the most dominant all-around player in the NBA just yet. If anything, his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers could help take his overall production to another level thanks to his suddenly younger and more athletic supporting cast. James’ career averages include 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists, and he has steadily improved his field-goal, 3-point and free-throw percentages in recent years. Throw in the fact that he can defend any position on the court at an elite level, and a normal season from James is an MVP-caliber season.
A broken foot will make it harder for Kevin Durant to repeat as NBA MVP this year, but it doesn’t take him out of the mix by any means. After all, he is still the most unstoppable offensive player in the game, and he has four scoring titles in the past five seasons to prove it. Durant has also expanded every other area of his game while making the Oklahoma City Thunder one of the powerhouses in the loaded Western Conference. As long as he only misses the six to eight weeks that he is expected to need to recover, Durant will have more than enough time to make his case for MVP honors.
He finished third in the MVP voting a year ago, and Blake Griffin doesn’t seem to be finished building his game. He has always been an explosive scorer in transition and around the rim, but he scored a career-high 24.1 points per game last year by adding a mid-range game while continuing to shoot a strong percentage. More importantly, his free-throw percentage climbed to 71.5. Griffin is famous for his highlight-reel dunks, but he is also a double-double machine and a main source of offense for a Los Angeles Clippers team with championship aspirations. If he adds a little more to his offensive repertoire this year, he could take home MVP honors.
In his two years with the Houston Rockets, James Harden has left little doubt that he is one of the best offensive players in the NBA. His ability to get to the rim and score from the perimeter makes him a nightmare matchup, and last year, he averaged 25.4 points while attempting more than nine free throws per game and making 2.4 3-pointers per game. He is averaged 4.7 rebounds and a career-high 6.1 assists while leading the Rockets to the No. 4 seed in the West and finishing fifth in the MVP voting. Harden is just reaching his prime, and if his all-around production continues to grow, he could make an even stronger push for MVP honors in 2014-15.
Last year, Stephen Curry unleashed an impressive offensive arsenal on the NBA on his way to a fourth-place finish in the MVP voting. He scored a career-high 24.0 points per game and knocked down 3.3 3-pointers per game at 42.4 percent clip. Curry also showed that he is more than just a 3-point sniper, getting to the line a career-best 4.5 times per game and dishing out a career-best 8.5 assists per game. Curry is making a push to become the best facilitator-scorer combination at the guard spot, and his MVP-worthy numbers from a year ago should only trend up.
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