Who do you think will be crowned the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 season?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Giannis Antetokounmpo gets my vote.
Antetokounmpo already has the individual numbers of an MVP, but the Milwaukee Bucks haven't had the team success for him to be mentioned in the same sentence as LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis over the last two seasons. After signing Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency - two players who should fit in perfectly with Antetokounmpo - the Bucks should be more competitive this season.
Now that LeBron is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Eastern Conference is relatively open, too. If Antetokounmpo takes another step forward and the Bucks sneak into the No. 4 or No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, he'll be in good shape to join Dirk Nowitzki in the history books as the only European-born players to be named MVP of the NBA.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): LeBron James will be named MVP of the 2018-19 season.
It's gotten to the point where you should expect the unexpected from LeBron, and winning MVP in year 16 of his career would be unprecedented.
You could legitimately make the argument for LeBron to have won the award in each of the seasons since he last won in 2013. Last year, LeBron posted arguably the best statistical season of his career and he now has the unique opportunity to put his value on full display by leading the Lakers franchise to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
James will pick up where he left off during his amazing postseason run, solidifying his MVP campaign by posting more astounding averages to lead the Lakers to over 50 wins and a top-four seed in the Western Conference.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): I'm all in on Kawhi Leonard.
Not only do I think Leonard will have a career year offencively, he's playing with a team that's tailor-made to take advantage of his incredible defencive versatility. Simply by virtue of the Raptors playing much faster than the Spurs, Leonard should have a few extra possessions per game which may not seem like much but could be enough to bump up his scoring average, especially if he sees an increase in free throw attempts as we've seen in the preseason.
Leonard is getting to the line more than anyone this preseason and it's not even close. Sure, it's a laughably small sample but given the success that DeMar DeRozan had in manufacturing trips to the free throw line in Toronto, it's not out of the question to expect a massive leap in that area from Leonard.
With all of the interchangeable wings in Toronto, the Raptors have all the makings of once again finishing with an elite defence after finishing fifth in defensive rating last season. Given the lack of a traditional post anchor, Leonard will almost assuredly get credit for even a slight uptick on that end which could make him the top two-way candidate.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm going with LeBron James.
After playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career and leading the league in minutes per game in year 15, it doesn't seem like James is slowing down any time soon. You could have made a case for his MVP campaign last season, but James Harden leading the Rockets to the top seed in the West took the award away from him.
I think he'll be more than deserving this year when his personal stats will suffice for the league's Most Valuable Player, but you'll also be able to account for how much better he made the young talent around him. He'll lead the Lakers to a top seed in the West and bring them back to the playoffs after a five year drought; How will anyone deny him the award?
All eyes will be on the King all season long in L.A. and we know he'll rise to the occasion.