The NBA officially tips off in less than two weeks and it’s never too early to start thinking about who’s going to absolutely dominate this year and win the MVP award.
There are some early favorites like Kevin Durant and LeBron James, who can fill up stat sheets and have proven they are always a threat to take down the highest honor of the regular season, and there are some good players that I don't think have a chance, such as Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
You'll find I have a few long shots on this list. That's because I feel they have a chance of making a huge impact in this lockout-shortened season.
Click on to see some of top MVP candidates for the 2011-2012 season.
The Durantula has led the NBA in scoring the past two seasons and brought the Thunder into the Western Conference Finals last year.
I think the only thing that has held him back is the fact that he plays in Oklahoma City, one of the smaller media markets in professional sports.
If KD leads the league in scoring again and continues to up his assist and rebound numbers, he should without a doubt earn this award.
The Thunder also have a lot of national television exposure this year after their breakout playoff run. That's another reason why Durant is my favorite to finally take the MVP trophy home.
People are getting starting to get excited about the Clippers again and they should be one of those teams that sneaks up and has a great year.
The perennially awful Clips play in the second largest media market in the United States and a winning season garners a ton of attention.
Should they do well and make the playoffs and, heck, even beat out the Lakers in the Pacific Division, you know it’s going to be due in large part to the play of their superstar forward, Blake Griffin.
I think he automatically gets thrown into the MVP discussion if that happens and, because of his awesome statistical numbers, it’s not that far-fetched for him to win it.
Dirk won this award in 2006-2007 for putting together a beastly regular season but it meant nothing to him after the eight-seeded Golden State Warriors upset his Mavericks in the first round.
It also made a joke out of giving him the honor.
Now that he has put that behind him and has a Finals MVP trophy under his belt and championship ring on his finger, I think Dirk can win it again.
The German has the skills, confidence, leadership and profile to capture a second MVP award.
Anyone who can lead his team to beat the Heat is going to be a viable choice for one.
If Chris Paul stays in New Orleans, he has no shot of being selected MVP.
The team that is built around him is falling apart and has no direction. Voters won’t select a star on a basement-dwelling, miserable, small-market team for the award.
Now, if CP3 gets traded to the Clippers, Lakers, Mavericks, Knicks or any one of the solid contenders who are seeking out his services, I think he’s a favorite.
Because it makes for a good story and voters love when those happen.
He’s also the best pure point guard in the game right now. It really is not that far of a stretch to see him hoisting the award come playoff time when he is in a different uniform.
LeBron is simply a stat sheet stuffer and will more than likely be playing on the best team in the league this season.
James has been talking about how he is no longer going to play angry and instead will concentrate on having fun and feeling comfortable on the hardwood.
I think if he gets into a rhythm and starts throwing up triple-doubles like he is Oscar Robertson, he runs away with this award.
If he slinks away from the spotlight and lets Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh handle the ball and take the shots at the first sign of trouble, he has no chance.
We’ll see very soon which LeBron will be on the court this season and who he is comfortable being.