The upcoming NBA season will be one of the most interesting in this decade, no doubt. LeBron James got Anthony Davis to help him bring the title to the Lakers, but the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to become the top contenders. Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, while James Harden and Russell Westbrook are teammates again, this time in Houston.
The reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will take another shot to the NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Greek Freak is a runaway favorite to win the MVP award back-to-back. Hereof, let’s take a look at the main contenders for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award to find out who could win it at the end of the season.
2019-20 NBA Regular Season MVP Odds
|Giannis Antetokounmpo +275||Stephen Curry +500||James Harden +700|
|Anthony Davis +750||LeBron James +850||Kawhi Leonard +900|
|Nikola Jokic +1400||Joel Embiid +1500||Damian Lillard +2200|
|Russell Westbrook +2500||Paul George +2800||Karl-Anthony Towns +4000|
|Luka Doncic +4000||Kyrie Irving +5000||Donovan Mitchell +6000|
The Greek Freak is coming off a breakthrough season, but many NBA fans felt he didn’t deserve the MVP award ahead of James Harden. However, the Milwaukee Bucks finished the regular season with the best record in the league, and Giannis was unstoppable on most of the nights. He was averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 57.8% from the field. Also, Giannis was taking 9.5 free throws per contest which tells you a lot about his dominance.
Although the bookmakers consider Antetokounmpo as the strongest fave to retain his MVP title, I don’t think he will make it. In order to do such a thing, Antetokounmpo needs to lead the Bucks to another best record in the league and continue to improve his numbers. On the other hand, Giannis has a lot of room to improve his game, especially his jump shooting. The Bucks kept their talented core and are listed as top favorites to win the Eastern Conference once again, so Giannis stands a chance, for sure.
Now, when Kevin Durant is in Brooklyn, the Golden State Warriors are Steph Curry’s team once more. The Dubs acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Nets, but Klay Thompson could easily miss the entire regular season due to an injury. It means Steph Curry will be the Warriors’ first scoring option, so he could be averaging around 30 points per game easily if he stays healthy.
Curry is a two-time MVP from 2015 and 2016. In that second season, Steph was tallying career-high 30.1 points a night along with 5.4 boards, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals while making 50.4% of his field goals which is another career-high. Curry is a true leader on the court and will be highly motivated to prove his worth. Many identify the Warriors’ success with Durant’s arrival from Oklahoma, so Curry will be keen to prove them wrong.
The Beard was carrying the wounded Rockets on his back for most of the previous season. Harden had a 32-game streak with 30-plus points while averaging whopping 36.1 points per contest to go with 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists. And, he couldn’t win the MVP Award with all those crazy numbers. So, how can you expect James to win it this season?
Russell Westbrook arrived in Houston to help Harden and the Rockets to finally reach the NBA Finals. As well as the Beard, Russ needs the ball in his hands, so I highly doubt Harden’s chances to win the MVP Award this season. The competition is so stiff in the Western Conference that Houston will have a tall task to finish on top of it. But, if the Rockets somehow make it and Harden contributes more than Westbrook, he could win the second MVP Award in three years.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James
With Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the team, the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly one of the strongest favorites to win the NBA Championship. If they finish the regular season among the top two teams in the West, one of those two guys could earn the MVP Award. But, who would you get? They are both tremendous players and it’s hard to say who will contribute more to the Lakers’ eventual success.
While LeBron is not getting any younger and could miss some games due to load management, Davis is a 26-year old all-around player who has to meet the expectations after all the noise around his trade from New Orleans. In the 2017-18 season, Davis was averaging 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. Hereof, I choose him over LeBron.
The Claw put an end to the Warriors’ dynasty, winning the 2019 NBA Finals MVP Award. He decided to leave Toronto after just one season and join the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi played only 60 games this past regular season due to load management, tallying 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per contest while making 49.6% of his field goals.
If he stays healthy, Leonard should play at least ten or 15 games more this term. With heavy competition in the West and Paul George sidelined for at least six weeks, Kawhi will have to lead the way for the Clippers who are considered as main favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA Championship. He’s the best two-way player in the league, no doubt, but Kawhi is not a guy who puts his interest above the team.
Nikola Jokic does everything on the floor. He’s a triple-double machine and a 7-foot playmaker. Jokic was averaging 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game last season, leading the Nuggets to No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Joker makes his teammates better, but the Nuggets will have a difficult job to replicate a 54-28 record from last year.
Joel Embiid is another 7-footer who has a solid chance to win the MVP Award. First, his Sixers are playing in the Eastern Conference, so their competition is much weaker. Second, Embiid is a dominant offensive force, but he also plays well on the other side of the ball. The biggest concern is his knees, and Embiid needs to stay healthy if he wants to become an MVP. Last season, Joel missed 18 games including five of the Sixers’ ultimate seven contests of the regular season.
Finally, I have to mention Kyrie Irving who left the Celtics to join the Nets this summer. Kyrie had a disappointing 2018-19 season and will have a lot to prove this term. Likewise, Kevin Durant will probably stay sidelined for the whole regular season, so Irving will be a key guy for the Nets. Brooklyn possesses a lot of talented players on its roster, and if Kyrie finds his place in the Nets’ system, he could make some noise this season.
My Pick: Stephen Curry at +500