Three players who should be getting MVP recognition this season

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls

With the second half of the season underway following the All-Star break, it's time for the league's best players to put forward their candidacy for this year's MVP.

Following an incredible opening half of the campaign, it's clear at this stage that James Harden is the favourite to finally win his first award.

But the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant are not too far behind as they've had brilliant individual seasons.

In recent months, however, several other players have been performing at a consistent level for their teams and deserve to have their names thrown into the conversation.

Here are three players who should be getting MVP recognition:

Jimmy Butler

The shooting guard's impact on the Minnesota Timberwolves in his first year is evident. With the addition of Butler, the franchise has gone from a lottery team to a playoff team.

At 36-26 and currently sitting in the fourth spot in the west, the T-Wolves are poised to end their league-worst 13-year postseason drought and they made that possible with their trade with the Bulls in the summer to acquire the All-Star.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Chicago Bulls

The 28-year-old started off slow as he got used to his new team and how to play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins but he's been playing some of the best basketball of his career in the last two months.

He's averaging 22.4 points, 5.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 47.6 percent from the field. His work on both ends of the floor on a nightly basis has been crucial to their success.

Butler has quickly become the leader of the team and the way he has transformed their fortunes means he's a worthy MVP candidate.

DeMar DeRozan

The Toronto Raptors guard may be one of the most underrated stars in the league but he deserves to be talked about for what he's doing for his team this year.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets

DeRozan is the best player on the number one team in the east and is fresh off his fourth All-Star appearance and the second consecutive as a starter.

He's just one of five players in the NBA with averages of at least 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field.

The 28-year-old has expanded his game and finally added the three-point shot to his arsenal where he's shooting a career-high 32.7 percent.

The Raps have a 41-17 record after 57 games and are legitimate championship contenders, thanks largely to the play of their consistent veteran.

Despite the great season both DeRozan and Toronto are having, most of the focus continues to lie with superstars elsewhere in the league but he shouldn't be slept on any longer.

Anthony Davis

The New Orleans Pelicans big man is having another hugely productive season and continues to put up outstanding numbers in his sleep.

For much of the campaign, he had a dominant partnership with DeMarcus Cousins but that came to a cruel end as the former Sacramento Kings center was ruled out for the remainder of the year with an Achilles tear last month.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Orleans Pelicans

That forces AD to step up and assume a greater responsibility and he's responded in stunning fashion in recent games.

The Pels headed into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak where the 24-year-old posted 44, 38 and 42 points, respectively.

In their first game back on Friday night, they made it four straight wins as the 24-year-old dropped a stunning 45 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks and five steals against the Miami Heat.

For the season, he's averaging 27.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. His team is in the eighth spot in the west with a 31-26 record and now face a real fight to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

But with Cousins out, Davis is back to being the lone star on his team and there's no doubt he should be a leading candidate for the MVP award if he succeeds in taking New Orleans to the playoffs.

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