LeBron snubbed as Westbrook, Harden, Kawhi named MVP finalists
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

All the usual suspects aside from the best player on the planet will duke it out for the NBA MVP award.

The three finalists for the 2016-17 MVP are Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets guard James Harden, and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

Statistic Kawhi Leonard James Harden Russell Westbrook
PPG 25.5 29.1 31.6
RPG 5.8 8.1 10.7
APG 3.5 11.2 10.4
RPM 6.72 4.81 6.27
PER 27.6 27.4 30.7

Four-time winner LeBron James and reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry finished outside the top three, according to a panel of 100 select media members who voted on the award.

Westbrook will most likely take home his first MVP trophy, according to preliminary polls. All the narratives are in his favor: Westbrook kept OKC afloat as a playoff team in the wake of Kevin Durant's departure, and he did so while averaging the first triple-double in nearly five decades.

Harden's case is similar to Westbrook's, only without the irresistible allure of round numbers. The Beard led the Rockets on a furious redemption campaign, one in which they finished with the third-most wins in the league after improving their win total by 14 games. Harden was the main engine behind the NBA's No. 2 offense as he finished second in scoring and first in assists.

Finally, there was the two-way excellence of Leonard as he continued the Spurs' tradition of excellence in the post-Tim Duncan era. Leonard was dominant on both sides of the ball as he helped an otherwise shorthanded Spurs team to 61 wins on the season.

LeBron snubbed as Westbrook, Harden, Kawhi named MVP finalists
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