With the 2016-17 NBA regular season over and one that was filled with records being broken and set, there is a lot of talk on who will be the most valuable player of the season, more specifically, who deserves it more. There are a number of players who are deserving of the award, but it is up for the voters to decide that. The players who are favored to be picked both have strengths and weaknesses in regards to their play and the teams they play for.

Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, already playing nine seasons as the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, proved to be the most versatile player on the court all season and made NBA history all season.

Over the course of the season, he averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds per game, becoming only the second player in NBA to average a triple-double in a season and the first to do so since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62. In what seemed to be the year of the triple-double, Westbrook also broke the record for most in a season, with 42, that was not surprisingly, originally had been set by Robertson. With Westbrook taking the role as team leader, after the departure of longtime teammate Kevin Durant, who went to the Golden State Warriors, he showed that with a good team behind him, anything good can happen. Despite the Thunder finishing as the sixth seed in the western conference, Westbrook is arguably the most favored to win MVP this year.

LeBron James

Coming off winning a championship, the first in Cleveland Cavaliers history and first for the city in 64 years, James was expected to put up similar or higher numbers from last season. The Cavaliers ran into a lot of obstacles all season, as key players, like J.R. smith and Kevin Love, missed time due to injury, which increased James time on the court and trying to take control.

Nonetheless, the Cavaliers managed to finish second in the eastern conference and James had a great year, averaging 26.5 points, 8.7 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game, as well as leading the league in minutes played per minute with 37.8. With four MVP awards to his credit, Cavaliers fans will probably be excited if James wins the award a fifth time, but due to the Cavaliers struggles, which included going 7-10 in March, it might not be the case.

James Harden

Known as "the beard", Harden has been the most consistent player for the Houston Rockets in recent years. The Rockets have been one of the best teams in the league with Harden playing. This season he put up career highs in point averaged, with 29.1, and assists, with 11.2. He also proved to be a triple-double machine for the season, getting 22 and helped the Rockets to a 55-27 record, third in the west, while also finishing first in free throws, free throw attempts, and assists. For the first time in his career, he was used at the point guard position by head coach Mike D'Antoni and saw some success. He also became the first player in NBA history to finish with at least 2,000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds in a regular season, which adds to his profile.

The only downside to Harden is his poor defense, having led the league in turnovers for four seasons, and three in a row. Besides the lack of defensive skills, Harden will be a favorite pick in the voting process.

Kawhi Leonard

Entering his sixth season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard was seen as the player to shine after the retirement of longtime Spurs player Tim Duncan last year. In 74 games, he averaged 25.5 points, 3.5 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals, as well as being selected as an all-star for the second time in his career. Because of his hard-nosed play and demeanor, he's been compared to Michael Jordan and will seem to get better in future years which is saying a lot.

Over the course of his career, he has won two defensive player of the year awards and leads the league in steals in 2015. The stats that Leonard put up through the season were seen as excellent, but there were players who performed much higher, but that's not to say that he should be mentioned as a candidate because of what he did this season and how he has performed over the last few years.

Overview

This year's NBA season showed a lot of die-hard fans all-star players stepping up and getting better on the basketball court. Westbrook and Harden seem to be the front-runners to win the award because of their play when it comes to triple-doubles, but it is a tight one because of stats on the rise and performances from James and Leonard as well.

With all the records that he set in the season, Westbrook seems to be the likely choice to win the award, with a lot of people agreeing, including Oscar Robertson, that he is the right guy to earn it. In the end, it all comes down to the voting process.

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