- Can James Harden claim back-to-back MVP trophies?
- New city, same MVP-worthy expectations for LeBron James
- Will there be a first-time NBA MVP this season?
What better place to draw the line in the sand from ‘back then’ to ‘modern’ when discussing the NBA MVP than the 1984-85 season?
That year’s draft produced a massive influx of talent into the Association, headlined by a North Carolina underclassman by the name of Michael Jordan. He was one of the most prolific MVPs of all time, bagging five over his GOAT career.
And if you didn’t think this was a chance to share a best of Jordan video, you’re nuts.
The MVP club is exclusive territory. It’s been 34 years since that 84-85 campaign, and in that span, only 20 players have laid their hands on that trophy. There are eight multiple winners.
How upper-crust is the talent dotting the MVP trophy? Hall of Famers like Isaiah Thomas, John Stockton, and Kevin McHale were only mentions and a ways away from getting their mitts on that thing.
Even the Logo, Jerry West, doesn’t have one of those in his trophy case.
There’s Hall of Fame good, and then there’s MVP good. Only 33 players in NBA history are part of that exclusive club.
As we head into this upcoming campaign, it’s time to look into the crystal ball and see who lords over all in a league oozing with superstar talent.
2018-19 NBA MVP Odds
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
You can make an argument that LeBron James could have been MVP the last ten years. I mean, seriously, he’s at four, and that seems alarmingly low. His career stats: 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists on 50.4% shooting from the field and 34.4% from deep are another All-Star’s career season. This dude averages that year in, year out. Perhaps his new surroundings shift him into full-on beast mode and the runaway winner this year.
Davis is amazingly dominant, but somehow gets lost in the shuffle because he hasn’t been in the league as long as LeBron and Durant, and isn’t as fresh in our memories as these new jack-of-all-trade super freaks. It’s nonsense. He’s the real deal. Last season’s 28.1 point, 11.1 rebound, and 2.6 block per game averages are scary good. He did it on an efficient 53.4% from the field and has developed to an average shooter from three-point range (34.4%) And he’s just 25.
The OKC Connection
- Kevin Durant
- James Harden
- Russell Westbrook
It is still crazy to think that the Thunder plucked three MVPs in consecutive drafts – and are left with what many believe is the worst of the bunch.
That being said, Westbrook is an absolute dynamo on the court, like a firecracker that pops even a full minute after you’ve lit the wick. Only one player in NBA history had averaged a triple-double for a season. Westbrook has done it in back-to-back seasons. And he wasn’t even in the running for MVP the second time!
Harden seemed to be the MVP no one wanted last year. Perhaps it’s the indifference to defense. Perhaps it’s the almost video-game glitchability of his offensive repertoire: shoot a 3, drive to the rim and score, or torture us with his ability to draw a foul on seemingly every drive.
It could also be because this:
LeBron James leads James Harden in every total individual statistical category pic.twitter.com/dFohdw6pWT
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 11, 2018
And while he’s with Golden State, Durant has essentially taken himself out of winning regular season MVPs, but his wildly devastating scoring efficiency and overall game will always have him in the top five of voting. More importantly, he’ll hold the belt of second best player on the planet until LeBron cedes it.
- Victor Oladipo
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Kyrie Irving
Giannis was pegged for MVP-level greatness, and there’s still time for him to get there. The guy is just 23, and came off a year where he averaged 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. That’s wild! Until he can develop a jumper, however, his ultimate force will still be waiting to be unlocked on the league.
Oladipo and Irving are similar in the sense that their teams have been built for them to be the engine. Irving has a great chance to be the best player on the best team in the East. But if Oladipo can elevate his game and his team’s standing, he could generate the necessary buzz to be in the mix.