Eastern Conference: Each Division’s MVP Thus Far
We already went over who is the MVP of each division in the Western Conference at this point, now it is time to do the same for the Eastern Conference. The East usually is considered weaker than the West, but this season is a bit different. One could make the argument the Western Conference is just a race between the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors. However, there are multiple contenders at this point in the Eastern Conference. With that being said, it is time to analyze the three Eastern Conference divisions and decide who is the MVP of each one at this point in time.
Eastern Conference: Who is the MVP of Each Division?
Atlantic Division: The Durantula
Kevin Durant may have signed up for more than he bargained for this year. The Brooklyn Nets are still without Kyrie Irving and James Harden is not looking like his usual self. As a result, Durant is taking on the bulk of the responsibility, but he is arguably the leading MVP candidate. He has still carried the Nets to the first seed in the East and is competing with his former teammate, Stephen Curry, for the league MVP. So far this season, Durant is averaging a league-best 28.6 points per game (PPG), 5.6 assists per game (APG), 7.5 rebounds per game (RPG), and a defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) of 0.6. Despite Kyrie not being there and Harden struggling this year, the fact that Durant has the team as the first seed is impressive.
Honorable Mention: Julius Randle: 19.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 10.1 RPG, -0.4 DBPM
Central Division: The Defending Champ
It may sound crazy to call Giannis Antetokounmpo a dark horse MVP candidate. After the Bucks’ slow start to the season, that is what he is considering he has willed them back into the top three of the Eastern Conference standings. Much like the Nets, the Bucks have been short-handed all year long, thus the signing of DeMarcus Cousins. As one would expect, Giannis has been spectacular coming off the first title of his career. He is putting up totals of 27.6 PPG, 6.0 APG, 11.8 RPG, and a DBPM of 3.3. If the Bucks can string together some momentum and go on a win-streak, Giannis may find himself back in the thick of the league MVP race.
Honorable Mention: DeMar DeRozan: 25.9 PPG, 4.2 APG, 5.2 RPG, -1.0 DBPM
Southeast Division: Jimmy Buckets
Jimmy Butler looks like he is on a mission this season and his Miami Heat are following suit. Many are already saying the Heat are the best team in the Eastern Conference despite some recent setbacks. Bam Adebayo is going to be missing time due to a torn UCL, so more of the responsibility is going to land on Jimmy and Kyle Lowry‘s shoulders. However, Butler is one who thrives on these types of challenges. Remember, he was an early league MVP favorite at the beginning of the season. At this point, Butler is tallying averages of 23.6 PPG, 5.3 APG, 5.8 RPG, and a DBPM of 3.0. Do not sleep on the Miami Heat, especially with how hungry Butler looks this season.
Honorable Mention: Trae Young: 26.3 PPG, 9.1 APG, 3.8 RPG, -1.9 DBPM
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images