Ranking the Dark-Horse Candidates for 2015 NBA MVP Award

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Ranking the Dark-Horse Candidates for 2015 NBA MVP Award
USA TODAY Sports

With Kevin Durant battling LeBron James for NBA supremacy, the league's MVP race has been more of a heavyweight prize fight between the game's two most prominent players.

Last season, Durant collected the coveted hardware by earning 119 of the 125 first-place votes. James, a four-time award winner, claimed the other six top votes while finishing in the second spot on another 118 ballots.

The 2014-15 campaign might not be any different. Both Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder and James' Cleveland Cavaliers figure to factor prominently in the championship race, which would put either player in prime position to add to his trophy collection.

However, the MVP galaxy is bigger than these two shining stars.

There are a host of dark-horse candidates poised to challenge the throne, all of whom will enter the season with convincing cases to be made.

So, what makes one case more compelling than another? Well, team success is key. The past 10 MVPs have suited up for clubs that won an average of 60 games.

Statistical dominance also weighs heavily on the voters' minds. This can help strengthen the argument for a select group of players who anchor elite teams without sharing the locker room with another full-fledged superstar.

With that said, let's look ahead at the dark-horse candidates with the best chances to secure the 2015 NBA MVP award.

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