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2008-09 prediction: LeBron James for Most Valuable Player

After finishing in the top 10 in the voting five straight times, LeBron might finally get his MVP trophy. AP Photo/Andy Kropa

Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win Most Valuable Player?"

1. LeBron James: 12 votes

Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: If they voted after the playoffs, it would be Chris Paul in a cakewalk. But they vote on the regular season, when James will be putting up the best numbers in the league by every measure in existence.

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Most greats won their first MVP around age 27. James, 23, has never been one to wait.

Maurice Brooks, ESPN.com: He officially took the title of world's best player away from Kobe Bryant last season. This year he'll get his MVP.

Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag: Leadership role on power-packed Redeem Team will take him to another level.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: LeBron is the best player in basketball, but his team hasn't been successful enough for him to garner MVP honors. With the addition of Mo
Williams, the Cavs should rack up enough wins for LeBron to take home the hardware.

John Hollinger, ESPN.com: By a whisker over Chris Paul.

Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com

Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy: The numbers will be too hard to ignore this time around.

Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: Could have realistically won it any of the last two years. James' game will take yet another leap and he'll officially be rewarded as the best player in the league.

Jalen Rose, ESPN: Can you say 30, seven and seven. Only James, Michael Jordan and the Big O have done it.

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: Will come close to averaging a triple-double. And if Wally Szczerbiak hits enough of the open shots LBJ will get him, LeBron
will average a TD.

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: Someone I trust implicitly who tracked LeBron all summer keeps telling me that there's a 99-percent chance he'll win his first MVP award. So there you go.


2. Chris Paul: 4 votes

Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: He's a Top 10 Plays regular, a box score stuffer and D is rarely a factor.

Tim Legler, ESPN: No other small guard has ever impacted the game at both ends the way Paul does. He hasn't come close to everything he is capable of.

Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: LeBron may be the world's best player, but New Orleans will have a better season and Paul will get some "shoulda won it last year" votes.


T-3. Kobe Bryant: 1 vote

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN.com: What's changed since last season?


T-3. Dwyane Wade: 1 vote

Mark Jackson, ESPN: He's back, he's healthy and he's a superstar. He will carry the Heat to the playoffs.