Fans are eager to see the NBA season resume because they want to see games played and a champion eventually crowned. But the playoffs are not the only story of interest as the season gets ready to start. For example, is there any chance LeBron James could overcome Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP?
The odds have been in Antetokounmpo’s favor. However, when the season came to a sudden halt, James had been making up ground on Antetokounmpo. Maybe with a super-strong showing when the season restarted, he could overtake him.
But it does not appear that he will have a chance. The NBA recently announced that voters should only consider games before the shutdown. With that in mind, is there any value in taking LeBron James to win MVP this season?
The odds, according to BetRivers.com, are as follows:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo -5000
- LeBron James +1000
- Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, James Harden +10000
- Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard +15000
- Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook +25000
James has had an incredible season this year for the Lakers on both ends of the court. But so has Antetokounmpo for the Bucks. To take down a reigning MVP playing at a high level, James had to perform even better. Before the season was suspended, he appeared to be on track to do just that.
However, the odds still heavily favored Antetokounmpo. With the race now over, the odds favor him even more, giving the perception that Antetokounmpo will win again. When asked about the MVP race, James did not seem bothered (ESPN):
“I’m not disappointed because things happen. You control what you can control, and I can’t control that. As far as the MVP race, I think that I’ve shown what I’m capable of doing. Not only individually but from a team’s perspective, us being No. 1 in the West.”
He is right; James has shown what he can do and does appear to have revived the Lakers franchise. But is it enough to warrant MVP consideration of a player that has been as dominant as Antetokounmpo has been?
After all, a winning Lakers team is incredibly valuable to the NBA, and he is the best player on the best regular-season team in the West. Such a designation is often a precursor to winning MVP….
So—should you bet on James to win?
Most would say no. Not because James did not have an MVP-caliber season, but because Antetokounmpo had an even better one. However, it is not outside the realm of possibility for voters to take James over Antetokounmpo.
It would be an upset, for sure, and quite controversial, but it wouldn’t be the first for the NBA.
Tim Duncan had a great year for the San Antonio Spurs back in 2002. But many feel as if Jason Kidd as more deserving after he resurrected the New Jersey Nets. However, since he was not as popular as Duncan, many feel he was slighted.
Duncan’s win is not the only controversial one. There was Karl Malone’s win in 1999, Bob McAdoo’s in 1975, and Derrick Rose in 2011, to name a few.
Why not James?
For it to happen, voters will need to factor in the value resurrecting the Lakers has to the NBA. Having one of the most popular and visible teams winning once again is great for the league. But enough for him to beat out Antetokounmpo?