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NBA MVP: LeBron James to wrestle award back from Kevin Durant

| 07.10.2014

Since LeBron James developed into an all-conquering NBA behemoth in the 2008/09 season, only two men have stopped the Akron native from claiming the Most Valuable Player award at the end of the year.

As a new b-ball campaign quickly approaches, all three of them are among the leading betting candidates to be crowned the league’s best. We evaluate their chances below:

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers – 5/4

James’ ceremonious return to his hometown club has dominated the off-season agenda like he has dominated NBA defenders.

His inability to claim a third straight, and fifth career, MVP award was more down to Kevin Durant’s freak season, rather than his diminishing display.

In fact, his amazing consistency in the last few seasons (which can be seen in his by-game averages below) makes him a worthy favourite to reclaim the title.

Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder – 3/1

The man nicknamed Durantula because of his extraordinary long limbs took 98.6 per cent of the vote to win last season’s MVP award, in a season where he broke Michael Jordan’s record for most consecutive 25+ point games.

Such a streak proves what it takes to out-perform James and Durant’s so-far-lacking consistency puts him second for this year’s title.

Blake Griffin – LA Clippers – 9/1

The dunking sensation finished third behind Durant and James last term and is likely to do so again as he continues to develop his game.

Heading into his fifth season in the league, the 25-year-old is still trying to add a consistent jump shot to his formidable close-range scoring. Until he does, bronze is about the best he can hope for.

Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls – 12/1

Feeling his way back from injury after a lay off that’s allowed him to take the court just 10 times since the end of 2012, Rose is an indecipherable quantity in this year’s MVP conversation.

If his confidence in his knee grows quickly, the point guard has the ability to put the Bulls on his back like he did when becoming the youngest MVP winner in 2010/11. If not, 12/1 is too short.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.