The 3 biggest challengers to Russell Westbrook's MVP award

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook turned in an incredible 2016-17 season, averaging a triple-double and taking home the NBA MVP award.

However, by adding Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, Westbrook will have to share the ball more, and that could impact his chances of repeating as MVP.

It'll be tough for Westbrook to win a second-straight MVP award, but it wouldn't be wise to count him out. Still, there are plenty of challengers looking to have outstanding seasons.

Obviously, much like in every season since he joined the league, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is the NBA's real MVP, but voters don't seem to be impressed by his constant production.

Due to that voter fatigue, it's unlikely LeBron will be the MVP when all is said and done this year, so that leaves Westbrook and a few other challengers as the favorites for the award.

Here are three players who could take over for the OKC star and win the 2018 NBA MVP award:

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Durant and Westbrook have a major rivalry, stemming from their days together with the Thunder.

Therefore, even if KD is legitimately happy for Russ after last year's MVP award, you just know he's going to use it as motivation this year.

It'll be tough for Durant to win the award on a team loaded with as much talent as the Warriors have, but if he stays healthy, he's the one who makes that team click.

Steph Curry is the best three-point shooter ever to play the game and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are also stars, but Durant is the best of the best on the Warriors' roster and could win the MVP award with a big season.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

Irving is now out from under LeBron James's shadow in Cleveland and will lead his own team as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Yes, the Celtics also added Gordon Hayward this offseason, but in crunch time, this will be Irving's team.

If he can lead the Celtics to the best record in the Eastern Conference, beating LeBron and the Cavs a couple of times in the process, he'll get some serious MVP consideration.

Irving will have the ball in his hands a lot more in Boston than he ever did in Cleveland, so we'll have to see if he can make the most of it this season.

Milwaukee Bucks v Toronto Raptors - Game One

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak lead the Bucks in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks last year, becoming only the fifth player in NBA history to accomplish such a feat.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the playoffs last season, and Milwaukee appears to be primed for another postseason run.

If Antetokounmpo again puts up otherworldly numbers and the Bucks win a few more games than they did last year, MVP voters will have no choice but to take a longer look at Milwaukee.

The Greek Freak still isn't a household name among casual NBA fans, but if he turns in another monster season, he has the potential to do what Westbrook did last year and bring an MVP award to Milwaukee.

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