2019 MVP Race

JakeRae

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The NBA game thread has a lot of MVP race talk and I think it would be nice to give that it’s own dedicated thread for ongoing discussion of Davis v. Harden v. Lebron; why everyone thinks Giannis has improved when he’s the same player he was last year, and the year before; the return to greatness of Paul George; Kyrie making the leap we’ve all hoped for; how Jokic remains incredibly underrated; and where we wait for Steph and Durant to flip the switch and make excluding them from the rest of this list look silly.
 

lovegtm

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The NBA game thread has a lot of MVP race talk and I think it would be nice to give that it’s own dedicated thread for ongoing discussion of Davis v. Harden v. Lebron; why everyone thinks Giannis has improved when he’s the same player he was last year, and the year before; the return to greatness of Paul George; Kyrie making the leap we’ve all hoped for; how Jokic remains incredibly underrated; and where we wait for Steph and Durant to flip the switch and make excluding them from the rest of this list look silly.
Budenholzer put a system around him that makes sense, and now the team is doing better? Not super-complicated.

I still am not going to believe in Jokic until I see how his defense holds up in a playoff series.

Harden is playing completely optimized basketball. You could give him any 3 decent wings and a rim-running center, and he'd make an elite offense out of it.
 

Cellar-Door

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Giannis has seen significant upticks in both raw numbers and rates in:
rebounding
assists
free throws
eFG/TS

the teams defense when he's on the floor has been terrific and the net rating when he's on the floor is obscene.

Basically everything except 3pt shooting he's better than last year and most by a significant step.
 

Big John

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LeBron is the MVP every year. The only question is who wins the popularity contest for faux MVP. Giannis and Harden are certainly in the running for that award.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Harden with 28 points on 7-11 shooting along with eight dimes and five boards in the first half tonight vs Memphis.
 

jon abbey

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LeBron is the MVP every year.
This would be pretty true if the MVP included the playoffs, but since it is just for the 'preseason' (to quote Charles Barkley), it should go to the guy who is most crucial to his team's regular season performance, which is why Westbrook and Harden rightly got the last two.
 

Big John

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This would be pretty true if the MVP included the playoffs, but since it is just for the 'preseason' (to quote Charles Barkley), it should go to the guy who is most crucial to his team's regular season performance, which is why Westbrook and Harden rightly got the last two.
Wake me up when one of those guys gets to the playoffs 13 straight times, as LeBron has.

Sure, there have been single season performances that has surpassed LeBron's corresponding season on occasion. But when you look at the full body of regular season work year after year...
 

jon abbey

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Wake me up when one of those guys gets to the playoffs 13 straight times, as LeBron has.
It's a single year regular season award, I personally think that it should be awarded at the end of the playoffs (yes, I know there's a playoff MVP too) but it isn't.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The NBA game thread has a lot of MVP race talk and I think it would be nice to give that it’s own dedicated thread for ongoing discussion of Davis v. Harden v. Lebron; why everyone thinks Giannis has improved when he’s the same player he was last year, and the year before; the return to greatness of Paul George; Kyrie making the leap we’ve all hoped for; how Jokic remains incredibly underrated; and where we wait for Steph and Durant to flip the switch and make excluding them from the rest of this list look silly.
The differences from last year to this are fairly significant even without yet possessing anything resembling a 3-point shot.

2P%: 55.4% to leading the league this year at 65.6%
RebRate: 16.0% to 19.3%
Assist%: 23.7% to 30.1%.
DefWinShares: 3.6 last year.....leading league at 2.6 this season.

Giannis has been pretty much unstoppable on both ends of the floor this year.
 

djbayko

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Wake me up when one of those guys gets to the playoffs 13 straight times, as LeBron has.

Sure, there have been single season performances that has surpassed LeBron's corresponding season on occasion. But when you look at the full body of regular season work year after year...
There's the rub.
 

Kliq

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The MVP award isn't for the player who most NBA GMs would take to build their team around, or the player voters would want to have in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The award is for the player that performed the best, night-in-and-night-out, throughout the NBA regular season. Nobody I think would dispute LeBron has been the best player in the league for a decade, but he hasn't always had the best, most impactful regular season every year. The last several seasons he has either taken some time off, or reduced his effort on defense. He's done that with an eye on postseason success and it's a good strategy for him, but he's not winning the MVP with that kind of performance.

As for Giannis, he is averaging 9.6 made two-point field goals per game, the most since Kobe in 2005-2006; although Kobe shot 49 percent that season and Giannis is shooting 65 percent on two-point field goals. Really, Giannis is in Shaq territory; the last time an NBA player made at least 9.5 two-pointers a game and shot at least 50 percent was Shaq in 2002-2003. So when it comes to scoring in the paint, Giannis is basically Shaq; only he uses his length and explosiveness to finish at the rim instead of brute size and strength. Giannis also is rebounding at an absurd rate (13 a game) and is a better playmaker than Shaq (6.1 assists) and a more versatile defender. He's insane right now.
 

Apisith

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Really agree that Giannis has stepped it up a level but I’ll take Harden over anyone else right now. Dude is absolutely ballin’.
 

HurstSoGood

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Right now, this is a two-horse race.

East:
Giannis: The Bucks could realistically win 16 more than last year (44-38), hit 60 wins and grab the East #1. May lose votes due to playing in weaker, LeBronless Eastern Conference. I also wish he was better from the FT line (70%, which, while not Shaquesian, means he is in the bottom half of his own team, by FT%) and from 3 (at .154 - he is literally the last guy the Bucks want taking a 3).

West:
Harden has incredible stats, both old and new school. Need a clutch 3? Need someone to make a clutch FT? Take over a game? Distribute? Who do you want having the ball- Up 1? Down 2 or 3? - with the season on the line? James freakin Harden. He has a great chance to win back-to-back MVP's while making Clint Capela an All Star. One thing that may hurt him: The Rockets have already lost almost as many games (15) as they did all last season (17).

The Rest:
KD/Curry: Still not fair. KD makes life so much easier for the rest of the Warriors.
Anthony Davis: Love The Brow, but how can the MVP come from a lottery team?
Westbrook: Quietly averaging a triple-double, but Paul George may be as valuable right now to OKC as Russ is.
Jokic: Not far behind stat-wise. If DEN lands the #1 seed out West, he will deserve a second look, but there is no way that happens.
LeBron: The GOAT has learned how to pace himself for the long season. Now injured. And screw the Lakers.
Kyrie & Kawhi are far from #1 here and would need the Greek Freak to suffer a Freak injury.
Rudy Gobert: Sneaky-good stats on a mediocre team. Honorable Mention due, more-so, to awesome nicknames - The Stifle Tower, The French Rejection,The Gobert Report
 

bosox79

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Right now, this is a two-horse race.


Jokic: Not far behind stat-wise. If DEN lands the #1 seed out West, he will deserve a second look, but there is no way that happens.
There is no way that happens unless Jokic really is a top 5-10 player in the league. Even if it happens, I doubt he gets votes. No one is really taking Denver seriously.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Right now, this is a two-horse race.

East:
Giannis: The Bucks could realistically win 16 more than last year (44-38), hit 60 wins and grab the East #1. May lose votes due to playing in weaker, LeBronless Eastern Conference. I also wish he was better from the FT line (70%, which, while not Shaquesian, means he is in the bottom half of his own team, by FT%) and from 3 (at .154 - he is literally the last guy the Bucks want taking a 3).

West:
Harden has incredible stats, both old and new school. Need a clutch 3? Need someone to make a clutch FT? Take over a game? Distribute? Who do you want having the ball- Up 1? Down 2 or 3? - with the season on the line? James freakin Harden. He has a great chance to win back-to-back MVP's while making Clint Capela an All Star. One thing that may hurt him: The Rockets have already lost almost as many games (15) as they did all last season (17).

The Rest:
KD/Curry: Still not fair. KD makes life so much easier for the rest of the Warriors.
Anthony Davis: Love The Brow, but how can the MVP come from a lottery team?
Westbrook: Quietly averaging a triple-double, but Paul George may be as valuable right now to OKC as Russ is.
Jokic: Not far behind stat-wise. If DEN lands the #1 seed out West, he will deserve a second look, but there is no way that happens.
LeBron: The GOAT has learned how to pace himself for the long season. Now injured. And screw the Lakers.
Kyrie & Kawhi are far from #1 here and would need the Greek Freak to suffer a Freak injury.
Rudy Gobert: Sneaky-good stats on a mediocre team. Honorable Mention due, more-so, to awesome nicknames - The Stifle Tower, The French Rejection,The Gobert Report
After tonight I am calling this a three horse race. OKC is winning and its despite Russell Westbrook's terrible shooting season. Simply put, Paul George is playing out of his mind on both ends.

I still think Giannis and Harden are ahead of him but if he and the Thunder keeps it up, he will make a strong case for consideration.

As a side note, George should offer some hope for those worried about a superstar in the making getting derailed by a horrific injury. He is having a career year, especially in the non-scoring categories like rebounds and steals.
 

Deathofthebambino

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The Rockets lost tonight at Portland. For the 2nd game in a row, Harden didn't reach double digits in free throw attempts, so he only scored 38 points on 35 shots (13/35 from the field, 5/17 from deep) and his requisite 7 turnovers. Do the MVP voters consider that a good game, because he put up 38?.

Meanwhile, Giannis and the Bucks lost to the Raptors in Milwaukee, but Giannis went for 43 on only 25 shots (plus 18 rebounds), and he also had 6 turnovers.

Kawhi scored 30 on only 16 shots though, plus he had 6 boards, 6 assists, and 5 steals.

Curry had 42 on 26 shots (10/20 from deep) in their win at Sacramento.

Whatever happens, it's certainly going to be a fun race to watch play out over the season. A lot of superstars in this league right now.
 

Apisith

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The Rockets lost tonight at Portland. For the 2nd game in a row, Harden didn't reach double digits in free throw attempts, so he only scored 38 points on 35 shots (13/35 from the field, 5/17 from deep) and his requisite 7 turnovers. Do the MVP voters consider that a good game, because he put up 38?.

Meanwhile, Giannis and the Bucks lost to the Raptors in Milwaukee, but Giannis went for 43 on only 25 shots (plus 18 rebounds), and he also had 6 turnovers.

Kawhi scored 30 on only 16 shots though, plus he had 6 boards, 6 assists, and 5 steals.

Curry had 42 on 26 shots (10/20 from deep) in their win at Sacramento.

Whatever happens, it's certainly going to be a fun race to watch play out over the season. A lot of superstars in this league right now.
Harden had a shitty game by his recent standards.

Steph was amazing.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The Rockets lost tonight at Portland. For the 2nd game in a row, Harden didn't reach double digits in free throw attempts, so he only scored 38 points on 35 shots (13/35 from the field, 5/17 from deep) and his requisite 7 turnovers. Do the MVP voters consider that a good game, because he put up 38?.
I wouldn't consider it a bad game by any means for a team that doesn't currently have any other shot makers. Austin Rivers was their #2 option with 15 shots and nobody else had more than 10 FGA. If not for Harden's 35 FGA keeping them in the game they get blown out of the building.
 

the moops

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I wouldn't consider it a bad game by any means for a team that doesn't currently have any other shot makers. Austin Rivers was their #2 option with 15 shots and nobody else had more than 10 FGA. If not for Harden's 35 FGA keeping them in the game they get blown out of the building.
This. As has been pointed out Harden is having a historically efficient scoring season while carrying his team from 14th to 4th in the West. Bagging on him because you find his game annoying is tiresome
 

bosox79

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The Rockets lost tonight at Portland. For the 2nd game in a row, Harden didn't reach double digits in free throw attempts, so he only scored 38 points on 35 shots (13/35 from the field, 5/17 from deep) and his requisite 7 turnovers. Do the MVP voters consider that a good game, because he put up 38?.

Meanwhile, Giannis and the Bucks lost to the Raptors in Milwaukee, but Giannis went for 43 on only 25 shots (plus 18 rebounds), and he also had 6 turnovers.

Kawhi scored 30 on only 16 shots though, plus he had 6 boards, 6 assists, and 5 steals.

Curry had 42 on 26 shots (10/20 from deep) in their win at Sacramento.

Whatever happens, it's certainly going to be a fun race to watch play out over the season. A lot of superstars in this league right now.
And Jokic had 39 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a block of 16-29 shooting for the team with the best record in the west.

edit: "But he's scored less than double figures in 7 of 36 games this year. A top player can't disappear like that." Nuggets are 5-2 in those game. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds and 9.0 assists.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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This. As has been pointed out Harden is having a historically efficient scoring season while carrying his team from 14th to 4th in the West. Bagging on him because you find his game annoying is tiresome
I get the dislike of Harden's style of play. However, the idea that Harden would be penalized by MVP voters for taking a lot of shots is silly. There are a lot of MVP voters who do pay attention to that stuff but there are a lot who simply look at the basic stats with PPG and the team's W/L record are the ones they can check easily. Furthermore, the narrative that Harden has to take a lot of shots has emerged and as HRB points out, it makes sense.

In short, Harden will not be penalized by his performance on Saturday night.
 

Deathofthebambino

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And Jokic had 39 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a block of 16-29 shooting for the team with the best record in the west.

edit: "But he's scored less than double figures in 7 of 36 games this year. A top player can't disappear like that." Nuggets are 5-2 in those game. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds and 9.0 assists.
You're right, an MVP candidate can't disappear in almost 20% of his team's games if he wants to win the award. That's a lot of games in which he was able to barely put the ball in the hoop. If he has another month, where he averages 13.9ppg like he did in November (around the time my post was made, so your quote is completely out of context as usual), he'll have no shot at the MVP award. He probably doesn't anyway, because 18.8ppg isn't going to get it done in this race. Maybe if he doesn't keep disappearing every 5 games or so, it'll go up.

The Nuggets are a good team though. They've got the best record in the west right now. I think the Clippers did not long ago too. We'll see if they can keep it up. His own teammate, Jamal Murray, who is pretty inconsistent himself has only 6 games with less than 10 points, Maybe he should get the MVP?

I know it's established that you're a massive Jokic fanboy. The funny thing is I'm not even a Jokic hater. I think he's a great player, but I still stand by my point that a guy who literally disappears for entire games is not going to win the MVP award, when his competition is going out night in and night out and dropping 30+. He's 37th in the league right now in scoring. Dejesus literally just talked about how there are a number of voters who look at basic stats like ppg and don't even look at something like shooting %, so I'm not sure that my position is all that controversial.

However, I'll be happy to point out his vanishing acts going forward if you'd like that, and you can point out his good games. Maybe we'll start pointing out Westbrook too, who has Jokic beat in every single category, and the Thunder are only 2 games behind the Nuggets going into tonight, and yet, nobody is even mentioning him in the MVP discussion. I don't see the Westbrook fanboys coming in here and editing their posts to try to start a flame war with someone. They would certainly have a better case than you do.
 

bosox79

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Scoring is everything. Jason Kidd must have sucked. What's Westbrooks TS%? Beat out Jokics?


The award is going to Giannis or Harden anyway but Jokic is an MVP candidate.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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I didn’t realize that you guys were serious about this Jokic for MVP talk. Here is the updated odds for MVP as of 1/7/19 per 5Dimes, one of the most prominent online sports books around. (sorry for the formatting). Another, BetDSI, doesn't have Jokic listed among the top 11 which you can even wager on.

Harden 1.75 - 1
Giannis 1.85 - 1
Kawhi 6.5 - 1
LeBron 7.25 - 1
Curry 7.5 - 1
Davis 8 - 1
Embiid 10 - 1
Durant 10.5 - 1
Westbrook 22.5 - 1
George 37.5 - 1
Jokic 45 - 1
Lillard 66 - 1
Kemba 72.5 - 1
Simmons 92.5 - 1
Kyrie 100 - 1
Mitchell, DeRozan, Blake, Oladipo, & Butler > 100 - 1
 

chilidawg

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Simmons is a joke, and I'd have Kyrie in the Embiid/Durant/Westbrook group,but the rest of that list looks pretty reasonable.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Simmons is a joke,
Well he is 92.5 to 1 :)

and I'd have Kyrie in the Embiid/Durant/Westbrook group,but the rest of that list looks pretty reasonable.
Kyrie is higher at BetDSI I believe 56-1.

My point was that Jokic is not a contender and not even in the conversation. There are two primary contenders and 2-3 secondary contenders that deserve a little “hey he’d have a shot in a different year” but not much chance to actually win the Award this season.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I like BB-Ref's MVP tracker, which takes subjectivity out of it and spits out a ranking "based on a model built using previous voting results" (some combo of PPG, RPG, APG and team W-L, presumably). Currently:

42.0% Giannis Antetokounmpo
13.8% James Harden
8.1% Anthony Davis
6.9% Kawhi Leonard
6.7% Nikola Jokic
6.3% Kevin Durant
5.2% Joel Embiid
4.4% Paul George
3.8% Stephen Curry
2.8% LeBron James
 

The Needler

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I like BB-Ref's MVP tracker, which takes subjectivity out of it and spits out a ranking "based on a model built using previous voting results" (some combo of PPG, RPG, APG and team W-L, presumably). Currently:

42.0% Giannis Antetokounmpo
13.8% James Harden
8.1% Anthony Davis
6.9% Kawhi Leonard
6.7% Nikola Jokic
6.3% Kevin Durant
5.2% Joel Embiid
4.4% Paul George
3.8% Stephen Curry
2.8% LeBron James
You like it why? You don’t know what the inputs are, do you know what its accuracy has been in previous years?
 

lovegtm

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You like it why? You don’t know what the inputs are, do you know what its accuracy has been in previous years?
From the link:
"The NBA MVP Award Tracker ranks candidates based on a model built using previous voting results."

Of course, that alone is no guarantee that the model is good (overfitting etc). But it likely has done well in previous years, for whatever that's worth. Plus let's be honest: NBA MVP criteria aren't a huge mystery.
 

Sam Ray Not

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You like it why?
Because it puts Beardo a distant #2, of course, lol.

Seriously, I assume the inputs are pretty basic (guessing mostly team W-L and PPG, with a bit of RPG and APG mixed in, and all other factors secondary). I mostly just like that it's a blind formula based on past results, as opposed to someone's opinion of what should happen.
 

The Needler

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From the link:
"The NBA MVP Award Tracker ranks candidates based on a model built using previous voting results."

Of course, that alone is no guarantee that the model is good (overfitting etc). But it likely has done well in previous years, for whatever that's worth. Plus let's be honest: NBA MVP criteria aren't a huge mystery.
Well, the last time they published their purported retro results, they don’t look particularly good to me at all: https://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/index59b6.html?p=3898

In nearly every season, the predictor failed to correctly pick the top 5 vote-getters in any order, and frequently missed the winner. In one of Nash’s MVP years, this predictor had him 7th.

This is of course after having full season’s stats and records available. I would guess a collective SOSH vote would do much better, and I am almost certain the end-of-season Vegas odds will track the results closer than this thing.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Maybe we'll start pointing out Westbrook too, who has Jokic beat in every single category, and the Thunder are only 2 games behind the Nuggets going into tonight, and yet, nobody is even mentioning him in the MVP discussion. I don't see the Westbrook fanboys coming in here and editing their posts to try to start a flame war with someone. They would certainly have a better case than you do.
As someone who agrees that Jokic disappears for stretches, and is a bit soft and moody for an MVP candidate, Westbrook is having a horribly inefficient season. To say he has him beat in every single category is misleading. I would also argue that Paul George having a worthy candidacy should hurt Westbrook's chances as well, and lack of a second fiddle should help Jokic's

FG%
Westbrook - .449
Jokic - .524

3PT FG%
Westbrook - .298
Jokic - .356

FT %
Westbrook - .623
Jokic - .836
 

Deathofthebambino

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As someone who agrees that Jokic disappears for stretches, and is a bit soft and moody for an MVP candidate, Westbrook is having a horribly inefficient season. To say he has him beat in every single category is misleading. I would also argue that Paul George having a worthy candidacy should hurt Westbrook's chances as well, and lack of a second fiddle should help Jokic's

FG%
Westbrook - .449
Jokic - .524

3PT FG%
Westbrook - .298
Jokic - .356

FT %
Westbrook - .623
Jokic - .836
You're misreading me, I'm not saying Westbrook is a serious candidate either. I was just pointing out that he's got as good an argument, if not better, than Jokic, but nobody was beating the Westbrook drum. To be clear, IMO, neither of them should come close to winning it, at least not at the moment. This argument goes back a bit, so you may not have the history, but we've only really ever discussed the big 3-4 categories in the MVP discussion, points/rebounds/assists/w/l, etc. That's why I asked the other night if Harden would get dinged for going 13-32 and 13-35 on back to back nights, and the consensus is that he won't, even if his shooting % continues to drop like a stone as he puts up more and more shots on a nightly basis. So yeah, Jokic has Westbrook beat in these secondary statistics, but ultimately, it doesn't sound like MVP voters care about those. Westbrook has him beat in PPG/RPG/APG and his team is only 2 games behind Denver at the moment. That's probably why Vegas has Westbrook literally twice as likely to win the award at 22.5-1 vs. Jokic at 45-1.

Jokic has certainly been more consistent recently than he was in November, so who knows, if he goes on a tear and starts averaging close to a triple double and 25+ a night, he could very well get himself into the conversation, especially if Denver continues to win, but at the time I typed that original post, and even now, I just don't see how he's anywhere near these other guys in the race.
 

johnmd20

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The MVP award isn't for the player who most NBA GMs would take to build their team around, or the player voters would want to have in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The award is for the player that performed the best, night-in-and-night-out, throughout the NBA regular season. Nobody I think would dispute LeBron has been the best player in the league for a decade, but he hasn't always had the best, most impactful regular season every year. The last several seasons he has either taken some time off, or reduced his effort on defense. He's done that with an eye on postseason success and it's a good strategy for him, but he's not winning the MVP with that kind of performance.
Lebron took Cleveland to the finals last year. This year, Cleveland is the worst team in the NBA. I'd say it's because they lost the most valuable player in the NBA.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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You're misreading me, I'm not saying Westbrook is a serious candidate either. I was just pointing out that he's got as good an argument, if not better, than Jokic, but nobody was beating the Westbrook drum. To be clear, IMO, neither of them should come close to winning it, at least not at the moment. This argument goes back a bit, so you may not have the history, but we've only really ever discussed the big 3-4 categories in the MVP discussion, points/rebounds/assists/w/l, etc. That's why I asked the other night if Harden would get dinged for going 13-32 and 13-35 on back to back nights, and the consensus is that he won't, even if his shooting % continues to drop like a stone as he puts up more and more shots on a nightly basis. So yeah, Jokic has Westbrook beat in these secondary statistics, but ultimately, it doesn't sound like MVP voters care about those. Westbrook has him beat in PPG/RPG/APG and his team is only 2 games behind Denver at the moment. That's probably why Vegas has Westbrook literally twice as likely to win the award at 22.5-1 vs. Jokic at 45-1.

Jokic has certainly been more consistent recently than he was in November, so who knows, if he goes on a tear and starts averaging close to a triple double and 25+ a night, he could very well get himself into the conversation, especially if Denver continues to win, but at the time I typed that original post, and even now, I just don't see how he's anywhere near these other guys in the race.
Thanks for taking the time to explain the backstory and rationale, that makes a lot more sense through that lens. I agree with a lot of what you point out and I'm hoping that NBA voters are due for a SABR-like correction in the coming years.

I do think there is something that isn't measurable in the fervor behind Jokic, a certain I don't know what, where non-traditional skill acts like a novelty and is being heavily valued. For Jokic, this means passing ability (measured in dimes), and the value of his assist numbers being weighted more heavily - with or without those in this camp being explicit about it. He has that old school cool factor that feels a little en vogue right now. I do think the way the game is being consumed, and then participated in, through avenues like this, (and Twitter, reddit, Facebook, etc) allows for these types of narratives to really take off. It wasn't long ago that people were willing to ignore Ben Simmons' non-existent jump shot to tout his court vision (and ability to run the point) as a path to perennial-MVP candidacy. Now this comp isn't great because Jokic may not be able to run the offense like a point guard, but there's a possibility that even archaic value placed on the assist statistic may actually underrate his impact, specifically as it relates to his position on the court.

This guy is, essentially, Kristaps Porzingis with an emphasis on facilitation - a very good player, but needs to show the consistency, as you mentioned, to be in the conversation of top 5 in the NBA. He's already got complaining to the refs down like an MVP, however.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Lebron took Cleveland to the finals last year. This year, Cleveland is the worst team in the NBA. I'd say it's because they lost the most valuable player in the NBA.
Totally agree. I've preached this forever.....LeBron should be a 10-time MVP. My insinuation that this is essentially a 2-man race is my opinion on how the MVP vote will play out in the end. LeBron once again would still get my vote if the season ended today. In addition to the Cavs going from 2nd best to like 30th best without LeBron we also can now see what the Lakers have done in their last 4 games once the shine of winning a game without their star wore off.
 

Kliq

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Lebron took Cleveland to the finals last year. This year, Cleveland is the worst team in the NBA. I'd say it's because they lost the most valuable player in the NBA.
Yes, I understand that LeBron is the best player in the NBA and the most valuable player when it comes to making the NBA Finals.

The MVP award is specifically for REGULAR SEASON performance and last season LeBron led the Cavs to a (still good) 4th seed in a bad conference while basically admitting that he didn’t try very hard on defense.

The MVP award is not for the best player in the NBA; it’s for the player who contributes the most to his teams success during the regular season. LeBron is really, really good at that too, but it’s not obvious that just because he’s the most talented player in the game, he is ALWAYS the most valuable player during the regular season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Yes, I understand that LeBron is the best player in the NBA and the most valuable player when it comes to making the NBA Finals.

The MVP award is specifically for REGULAR SEASON performance and last season LeBron led the Cavs to a (still good) 4th seed in a bad conference while basically admitting that he didn’t try very hard on defense.

The MVP award is not for the best player in the NBA; it’s for the player who contributes the most to his teams success during the regular season. LeBron is really, really good at that too, but it’s not obvious that just because he’s the most talented player in the game, he is ALWAYS the most valuable player during the regular season.
Why are you discounting that even with LeBron coasting at times (even though his numbers were above career avg just about across the board) the difference between the Cavs with that regular season LeBron and the Cavs without that regular season LeBron is anything but enormous?
 

Kliq

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I didn’t say it wasn’t big, I just said that it’s not obvious that he’s the most valuable regular season player every year.
 

scottyno

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Lebron took Cleveland to the finals last year. This year, Cleveland is the worst team in the NBA. I'd say it's because they lost the most valuable player in the NBA.
And their only remaining star has played 4 games this year and they got rid of multiple solid role players pretty quickly this year. Not pretending that they'd be good if they had all those guys, but they wouldn't be worst team in the nba bad.
 

maufman

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Wake me up when one of those guys gets to the playoffs 13 straight times, as LeBron has.

Sure, there have been single season performances that has surpassed LeBron's corresponding season on occasion. But when you look at the full body of regular season work year after year...
It’s a single-season, regular-season award. That’s a good reason not to care about the award — playoff basketball is a different sport, and LBJ is still the undisputed king there. But I don’t even see an argument for LBJ as the league’s best regular-season player anymore.

As an aside, LBJ definitely got screwed out of an MVP award or two during the 2008-13 span when he had entered his peak but hadn’t reached the point where he needed to conserve energy for the playoffs. Kobe in 2008 and D-Rose in 2011 were embarrassing selections, though you could argue that KG and CP3 were more deserving choices than LeBron in ‘08.
 

JakeRae

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Jokic is not an MVP candidate. I think we all agree on that point. That’s not because he isn’t having a season deserving of being one, it’s because he doesn’t look the part.

Jokic is the best player on the third best team by record. He is 3rd in BPM, 4th in VORP, 4th in RPM, 6th in WS/48 and 10th in WS. Basically every statistic that looks at aggregate performance thinks he belongs in the conversation even though it is also obvious that he’s not actually the best.

He does have some quiet nights, but it should be borne in mind that a guy like Harden usually has some truly horrendous nights where he scores a ton on really low efficiency with a lot of turnovers. It’s not at all clear to me that a star that has quiet nights is less valuable than a star that has high volume but low efficiency nights.
 

The Needler

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Giannis is shooting .781 at the rim. He’s shooting .356 (63/177) on all other 2-pointers, and .165 from 3-pt land.

For reference, Ben Simmons is shooting .712 at the rim, and .394 (82/208) on all other 2-pointers. That is to say, Giannis has shot at a similar volume and a much worse percentage than Ben Simmons outside of three feet.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Giannis is shooting .781 at the rim. He’s shooting .356 (63/177) on all other 2-pointers, and .165 from 3-pt land.

For reference, Ben Simmons is shooting .712 at the rim, and .394 (82/208) on all other 2-pointers. That is to say, Giannis has shot at a similar volume and a much worse percentage than Ben Simmons outside of three feet.
Simmons is a point guard. Shouldn't he be better than Giannis outside of 3 feet (I'm not saying Giannis isn't a bad shooter, he is, and teams really should slack off and dare him to put the ball up)?
 

bosox79

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Simmons is a point guard. Shouldn't he be better than Giannis outside of 3 feet (I'm not saying Giannis isn't a bad shooter, he is, and teams really should slack off and dare him to put the ball up)?
They should both be better from outside 3 feet but Simmons is an interesting case in that he is so tall for the position. How many PGs are shooting 57.6% from the field on 11.6 attempts a game? He does get to the line quite often so his FT shooting is definitely problematic.

Either one of them with a 3 point shot would be a nightmare for the league.
 

The Needler

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Simmons is a point guard. Shouldn't he be better than Giannis outside of 3 feet (I'm not saying Giannis isn't a bad shooter, he is, and teams really should slack off and dare him to put the ball up)?
Why? What difference does it make what “position” he plays? He’s either an efficient scorer, or he’s not. He either spaces the floor, or he doesn’t. He either distributes the ball, or he doesn’t.

Ben Simmons defends all five positions. He’s among the league leaders in assists, and has a TS% around 60%. Call him a PG, a Center, or a Wing. I don’t see what difference it makes that Giannis doesn’t bring the ball up the floor as much as he does.