With Curry and KD now teammates, Kerr admits darkhorse Lillard has clear shot at MVP award
Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard has made it clear that winning the MVP award is one of his goals this NBA season. Jerome Ascano

STEPH Curry’s three-peat bid for the MVP award took a hit once Kevin Durant joined Golden State, and even his Warriors coach Steve Kerr is picking another spitfire guard to win the top individual honors for the upcoming NBA season.

In an interview with San Jose Mercury News’ Anthony Slater, Kerr shared his thoughts on a wide-open race for the MVP award in the 2016-2017 NBA season, acknowledging that his players Curry and Durant will be in the mix along with perennial contender LeBron James, the runaway winner in this year’s NBA GM survey.

But the Golden State coach gave an analogy using the US Presidential elections in choosing his own MVP winner, Portland star Damian Lillard.

“I think KD is kinda like Gary Johnson, a third party guy who is going to come in and take a few votes from Steph, takes some from LeBron, and then Damian Lillard wins the election. That’s my forecast,” he said on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).

Lillard himself has acknowledged to Blazers beat reporter Casey Holdahl on Sunday that his personal goal for the season is to win the MVP award as well.

“MVP. I want to be the MVP. I think if we come out and do the things that we’re capable of doing as a team and we win games, I think that means that my performance will be at a level of the MVP,” said Lillard.

The Blazers guard, though, was not in the top 6 of MVP contenders in the GM survey. James took the top spot with 46.7 percent of the votes, and OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who looks to fill the stat sheet with Durant no longer around, coming in at second.

Houston’s James Harden and Curry share the third spot, followed by Durant. Indiana’s Paul George rounds out the top six MVP contenders for the GMs.

James also ruled the GM survey last year but Curry ended up winning his second straight MVP award after leading the Warriors to an NBA-record 73-9 card in the regular season.

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