Looking at the early season favorites for the MVP award is always a bit of a hedged bet — after all, we’re not even a quarter of the way through the season yet; the reigning MVP (Kevin Durant) is slated to come back and see the court for the first time all year; and the road to being crowned the most valuable player in the entire league is riddled with hot starts that taper off so quickly that any MVP discussion can look more than a little silly in retrospect. We get all that, but we’re going to do it anyway.
There are a few constants when it comes to nailing down the criteria for what makes an MVP an MVP. Over the most recent years of the award, the winner, save those times when voter fatigue has set in, has typically lead the league in Win Shares. Kobe Bryant’s a notable exception to this rule, but everyone who was really paying attention knows that he was very rarely the best player on that 2008 Lakers team, just the most Jordan-esque. So, using that estimate as a barometer, we’re going to check out the seven NBA players who are currently leading the league in Win Shares, followed by some brief analysis on how likely they fit the intangibles that are always a part of the voting process.