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Top 5 MVP Candidates for 2013-14 NBA Season

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Top 5 MVP Candidates for the 2013-2014 NBA Season

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The NBA MVP Trophy has been in the hands of LeBron James for four out of the last five seasons. If you go based on numbers alone, he should be a five-time defending champion. The one year he lost, he came in second place to Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, even though he had a better statistical season.

The MVP award doesn't always go to the best player in the league. If that were the case, Michael Jordan would have 8-10 awards and Shaquille O'Neal would have 6. The award is supposed to go to the person that is the most irreplaceable in the league. This leaves the award to go up for debate almost every season because it is an award based on opinion instead of numbers.

If the award goes to the player that is most valuable to their team, technically a player can win the award without playing a single game. Had the Bulls gone 20-62 last year without Rose, it would have made him more valuable to them than anyone playing. If the Oklahoma City Thunder get off to a rough start without Russell Westbrook, he should be the early favorite to win. The Minnesota Timberwolves were in the middle of the playoff race before Kevin Love was injured. If Love stayed healthy, you can argue they would have made the postseason, but he did not receive a single vote.

It would solve a lot of issues if the NBA just named the award the Player of the Year award like they do in College Basketball. If it were called the Player of the Year Award, LeBron would have won unanimously last year instead of Carmelo Anthony stealing a first-place vote because of the opinion of one writer.

Heading into the 2013-14 season, these five guys will lead their team deep into the playoffs and compete for the NBA MVP trophy.

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5. Paul George

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Last year Paul George made the leap from being a good player to being a legitimate superstar. He made his first All-Star game and led the Indiana Pacers to within one game of the NBA Finals. He constantly matched LeBron James shot for shot throughout the series and also gave him fits on defense. With a better team around him this season, George is in a prime position to improve on all of his numbers and jump into the top five of the MVP voting.

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4. Chris Paul

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This is a familiar position for Chris Paul because this is where he finished last year. He is going into his third season with the Los Angeles Clippers and they have finally put the pieces around him to succeed. The biggest issue with the Clippers have been their lack of perimeter shooting outside of Jamal Crawford. By acquiring J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley and signing Byron Mullens, he will have the ability to penetrate and kick as well as lob the ball up to his two big men. The Clippers will be the best team in Los Angeles again this year and Paul will lead the league in assists.

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3. Kevin Durant

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With Russell Westbrook out for the start of the season, the Oklahoma City will have to lean on Kevin Durant more than ever. He will put up the individual numbers to warrant MVP consideration, but the Thunder may not be good enough for him to win it. They lost Kevin Martin and did not replace him with an adequate scorer. The Thunder are hoping that Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones will pick up the slack, but if they don't, the Thunder could be looking at a No. 5 or 6 seed in the West.

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2. Dwight Howard

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 will be the year that Dwight Howard finally has fun again. He is in a situation where he is the No. 1 option on his team, but isn't the best player. He signed on to play with James Harden knowing that Harden can put up 30 points whenever he wants, but is also very unselfish. The Rockets have built a team that is very compatible with the skill set of Howard and he should have the best season of his career. If Houston finishes with a top-two seed in the West, it will be because of the addition of Howard and that will warrant MVP consideration.

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1. LeBron James

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is the best player in the world and there is no longer an argument about it. He has gotten better each year in Miami, and unless they go on a maintenance program, his numbers will continue to improve. There is no player more valuable to any team in professional sports than LeBron is to the Miami Heat. They have won two-straight titles with him and been to the NBA Finals in all three years. If LeBron had chosen to go somewhere else or stay in Cleveland, Miami would be a No. 4 or 5 seed in the East at best, and still only have one banner up in the American Airlines Arena.