NBA MVP POWER RANKINGS: Where the top players stand with 3 weeks to go

With LeBron James’ slow start to the season and Kevin Durant missing more than half of the games so far, this season’s MVP race is the most wide open in years.

Using Player Efficiency Rating (PER, avg=15.00), Win Shares, and Wins Above Replacement (WAR), as well as team performance, we ranked the top players who can make a case for this year’s MVP award.

As we move towards the end of the season Stephen Curry is the favourite. But there are seven other players who can also make a strong case.

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (previously: 1st)

Team Record (rank in conference): 56-13 (1)

PER (rank): 27.51 (4)

Win Shares (rank): 12.9 (2)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 15.72 (2)

One thing to know: Stephen Curry is averaging just 32.9 minutes played per game. No player has ever won the MVP playing fewer than 33.3 minutes per game and only two have won the award playing fewer than 35.0 minutes per game (Bill Walton 33.3 in 1978-79 and Steve Nash 34.3 in 2004-05).

2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (previously: 5th)

Team Record (rank in conference): 40-30 (8)

PER (rank): 29.55 (2)

Win Shares (rank): 9.1 (9)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 9.85 (9)

One thing to know: There have been 40, 40-point games in the NBA this season. Russell Westbrook and James Harden each have seven and no other player has more than three. Westbrook also has ten triple-doubles this season. No other player has more than three.

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (previously: 4th)

Team Record (rank in conference): 46-26 (2)

PER (rank): 26.25 (7)

Win Shares (rank): 9.1 (9)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 13.40 (3)

One thing to know: This season is starting to look a lot like LeBron James' first season with the Heat and if the season ended today, the Cavs would play the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

4. James Harden, Houston Rockets (previously: 2nd)

Team Record (rank in conference): 46-23 (3)

PER (rank): 26.39 (5)

Win Shares (rank): 13.4 (1)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 16.60 (1)

One thing to know: James Harden was a trendy favourite earlier in the season as he is having the best season of his career. He is even 8th in the NBA in defensive win shares. However, his reputation as being a poor defender may still be hurting him.

5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (previously: 3rd)

Team Record (rank in conference): 37-33 (10)

PER (rank): 31.45 (1)

Win Shares (rank): 11.9 (4)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 10.88 (7)

One thing to know: Anthony Davis is the NBA's next great superstar and will probably win some MVPs in his career. However, despite his big numbers this season, the Pelicans are probably going to miss the playoffs.

6. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (previously: 8th)

Team Record (rank in conference): 46-25 (5)

PER (rank): 25.15 (8)

Win Shares (rank): 12.8 (3)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 12.71 (4)

One thing to know: At 29, Chris Paul is proving that he is still one of the best players in the NBA. However, his numbers aren't much different than previous seasons (his scoring is actually down a tad from 19.1 points per game last year to 18.8 points per game this year) and the Clippers appear to be just coasting to the playoffs.

7. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers (previously: unranked)

Team Record (rank in conference): 46-26 (2)

PER (rank): 21.64 (20)

Win Shares (rank): 9.5 (6)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 9.68 (10)

One thing to know: There have been five 50-point games in the NBA this season and Kyrie Irving with two is the only player with more than one.

8. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (previously: 6th)

Team Record (rank in conference): 49-21 (2)

PER (rank): 21.75 (17)

Win Shares (rank): 8.9 (12)

Wins Above Replacement (rank): 7.94 (27)

One thing to know: Marc Gasol would be a serious MVP contender if the Grizzlies had the best record in the NBA. Instead they have the third-best record and Gasol will have to settle for being one of the biggest names on the free agent market after the season.

Now check out what experts are predicting for the NFL Draft

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