For each Maurice Podoloff trophy winner, one thing stands out: they’re all winners. Whether it’s a physical specimen like LeBron James, an ultra competitor like Kobe Bryant, or an extreme talent like Larry Bird, none of these players would have received their MVP awards if their skills didn’t translate to winning.
To put this into perspective, the last ten MVP award winners’ teams posted a win percentage 74.6.
Top candidates to take home this years MVP award can be narrowed down to players who put up crazy numbers on winning teams. While predicting team records isn’t easy, it’s pretty obvious who is going to have the craziest stat lines and be on a team that is good enough to at least earn them consideration.
LeBron James will be moving to the West after spending the last nine seasons coming out of the East and playing in the NBA Finals. James has proven that he is the best basketball player of this era, which is clear when looking at his absurd stat lines and highlights.
Last year James played 82 games and posted season averages of 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game while carrying the lowly Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. If the MVP award included postseason play, James would be the clear cut winner. Regardless, his season averages show no signs that he is slowing down even at the age of 33.
Everyone knows LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world and he will prove that again this season. The only thing holding back James from winning another MVP trophy is that he has already won the award four times.
When Demarcus Cousins suffered a ruptured achilles in the middle of the season last year, everyone thought that the Pelicans’ playoff dreams were over. But Davis went into Superman mode and put the team on his back, carrying the Pelicans to the sixth seed in the west, launching himself into the MVP conversation.
With Demarcus Cousins now off the team, Davis will have the spotlight to himself on a squad with enough assets around him to be in the playoffs. If Davis plays the same way that he did last season when Cousins went down, he is a favorite to win the MVP award.
Last season Davis posted an average of 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting an efficient 53.4 field goal percentage. With Cousins out of the picture and another year of development under his belt, expect the 25 year old Davis to blow minds with high-point games and crazy dunks all year long.
If the Pelicans’ offseason acquisitions such as Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton prove to be a good fit with The Brow in New Orleans, Davis’ role as the only superstar on that team will inflate his statistics and put him right back into the MVP race.
The Greek freak is the most imposing player in the NBA. Listed as a 6’11” small forward, Giannis is literally a tall task that proves as a matchup problem to all teams simply because of his sheer athleticism and size. Much like the position that Davis and LeBron are in, Giannis is the lone superstar talent on his Milwaukee team.
Giannis could see trouble competing for the MVP trophy as the Bucks have not been able to surround him with much talent in the past and have struggled to finish in the top half of playoff teams in the East.
However, if Giannis can carry the team into a top four seed in the East, and slightly improves his numbers, he has a great chance to win the MVP award. Last season the 23 year old posted 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per contest. As he is still such a young player these numbers are bound to increase as Giannis cements himself as one of the top players in the NBA next season.
My prediction for this years MVP is Anthony Davis. He’s entering his prime and as the lone superstar on a team with a solid roster that proved it was better without DeMarcus Cousins I expect big things from the Brow. Look for Davis to put up some huge stats and carry his team to at least 50 wins in the stacked Western Conference which will culminate in MVP honors.