MVP leaders at NBA's quarter mark

A familiar name tops the list, but new contenders are rising

Updated: December 10, 2013, 4:17 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider

LeBron James Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesLeBron James already has four MVP trophies. Is he on his way to adding a fifth to his collection?

Well, that first quarter blew by quickly, didn't it?

Believe it or not, we reached the NBA season's one-quarter mark Tuesday, with 309 of the season's 1,230 games (25.1 percent) in the books. With that in mind, let's take the temperature of the jam-packed MVP race, which features some usual suspects as well as some party crashers (hello, Paul George).

Here's how I'd fill out my (unofficial) ballot if we were handing out the awards now. In other words, this is not a prediction of how I think the voting will go at season's end. In reality, the MVP award usually ends up being the BPOTBT award (Best Player On The Best Team) with almost no recognition for great players with bad supporting casts. You won't find that bias here.

Let's get to it.

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat


News flash: The best player on earth is also the most valuable player. Stick this guy on any team in the league and it will instantly join the title conversation. That's how good he is. James ranks first in player efficiency rating (PER), estimated wins added (EWA), win shares (WS), wins above replacement player (WARP) and just about any advanced stats acronym out there.


To read the rest of Tom Haberstroh's MVP ballot through the first quarter of the NBA season, become an Insider today