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The MVP award is the most coveted award of the NBA regular season. It shows which player has been the most valuable to his team, based on his stats and history. Every year the MVP award is given to the best player in the league and the one who scores the most points, and the race for this title is often very close.
Looking back over the past decade, the MVP race is of historic significance. Five players earned the award this season, but there was only one winner. Here’s the MVP race for the last 10 years, with the highest voted getting an individual award.
MVP Race 2011
1. Derrick Rose – 1182 points
25.0 PPG, 4.1 PPG, 7.7 PPG, 1.0 PPG, 0.6 BPG.
The most recent MVP, Derrick Rose, was an NBA All-Star in 2011. While LeBron James and Kobe Bryant continue to play at their peak, it’s the 22-year-old Rose who has most distinguished himself as the most unstoppable player in the league. Rose was the only player in the league in the top 10 in points (2,026) and assists (623). Most importantly, the Chicago Bulls won thanks to Rose. The young star became the first player in Bulls history since Jordan to score at least 25 points and seven assists in a season.
2. Dwight Howard – 643 points
£22.9, £14.1, £1.4, £1.4, £2.4.
Dwight Howard was a defensive and offensive phenom in 2011. Despite claims that he was an inconsistent scorer, Howard was a force on both ends of the floor as a rebounder and edge rusher. Dwight Howard scored a lot of points in the MVP voting as people began to realize how mediocre the Orlando Magic team was. After Dwight, Jamer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu were the best players on the team. Howard still won the Defender of the Year award, which was his third consecutive.
3. LeBron James – 522 points
26.7 PPG, 7.5 PPG, 7.0 PPG, 1.6 PPG, 0.6 BPG
LeBron James may have been the best all-around player at the time, but he didn’t have the fame of Derrick Rose or even Dwight Howard. James has been a force in his first season with the Heat, with his usual numbers and even dominance on defense. James was on a mission even though he didn’t make the NBA Finals for the Dallas Mavericks.
4. Kobe Bryant – 428 points
25.3 PPG, 5.1 PPG, 4.7 PPG, 1.2 PPG, 0.1 BPG.
At 32 years old, Kobe Bryant is still a top-five NBA player and he is desperate and hungry to win his sixth NBA championship. The Lakers looked older and slower every year, and aside from Andrew Bynum, none of the key players were particularly young. But Kobe did his part by leading the Lakers to third place in the West and delivering his usual numbers that earned him fourth place.
5. Kevin Durant – 190 Points
27.7 PPG, 6.8 PPG, 2.7 PPG, 1.1 PPG, 1.0 PPG.
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder rank 4th in the West, and Durant is #1 with 27.7 PPG. Durant is a force to be reckoned with, and his improved pens were on full display in 2011. If there was any weakness in Durant at all, it was becoming increasingly clear that he would soon no longer have one. Durant also improved his defense significantly, putting him in 5th place in the MVP race.
MVP Race 2012
1. LeBron James – 1,074 points
27.1 PPG, 7.9 PPG, 6.2 PPG, 1.9 PPG, 0.8 BPG.
2012 was the year of the king. After the most embarrassing moment of his career during the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron came back with a sense of revenge. When LeBron took on the role of villain instead of the usual superhero, he created a furor and dominated the game as the best player in the league. With the age of Kobe Bryant and a young Kevin Durant on his heels, LeBron reached a new level and won the MVP and Finals MVP that year.
2. Kevin Durant – 889 points
28.0 PPG, 8.0 PPG, 3.5 PPG, 1.3 PPG, 1.2 PPG.
Durant is the NBA’s top scorer and the Oklahoma City Thunder finished second in the Western Conference during Corrota’s lockout season, and he finished second in MVP voting. LeBron James just exploded in 2013, and even Durant’s dominance couldn’t convince voters that the Thunder star deserved him.
3. Chris Paul – 385 points
19.8 PPG, 3.6 PPG, 9.1 PPG, 2.5 PPG, 0.1 BPG.
(via Bleacher Report)
Arguably the best point guard in the NBA, Chris Paul has made the Los Angeles Clippers relevant. Chris Paul, who was third in assists behind Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo, was the heart and soul of the Clippers’ 40-26 team. The Clippers were finally a threat thanks to Chris Paul, which earned him a top 3 MVP ranking behind LeBron and Kevin Durant.
4. Kobe Bryant – 352 points
27.9 PPG, 5.4 PPG, 4.6 PPG, 1.2 PPG, 0.3 BPG.
credit : USATSI
Kobe Beane Bryant would not just disappear into thin air. At 33 years old, Bryant is third in scoring behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James, with a 39 goal lead over Durant. Kobe did everything in his power to make the Lakers a contender again, and he almost succeeded. The Lakers were solid with the No. 3 seed in the West, but they were far behind the Thunder and Spurs.
5. Tony Parker – 331 points
18.3 PPG, 2.9 PPG, 7.7 PPG, 1.0 PPG, 0.1 BPG.
Tony Parker set the record straight in 2012 and began to rediscover his former All-Star form. Greg Popovich knew Parker was having a sensational season and cut his star point guard’s break short. Parker was spectacular, leading the San Antonio Spurs to their best record in the Western Conference and showing arguably the best leadership in the NBA at the point guard position.
MVP Race 2013
1. LeBron James – 1207 points
26.8 PPG, 8.0 PPG, 7.3 PPG, 1.7 PPG, 0.9 PPG
LeBron James has maintained the same energy for 2013 that he had the season before. Motivated after tasting victory and winning his first NBA title, he continued to dominate the game like he does best. King finished second in the battle for the defender of the year title and probably should have won it had he not been biased against Marc Gasol. Still, James was the best player in the world, winning his second consecutive MVP and his last MVP.
2. Kevin Durant – 765 points
£28.1, £7.9, £4.6, £1.4, £1.3.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Kevin Durant again finished second to LeBron James. Until Durant switched to Golden State in 2017, that was the story for several years. Durant held his own and improved his defense, while his game continued to develop at a high rate. Durant may not have beaten Carmelo Anthony (28.7 PPG), but he may have been the most consistent scorer in the league.
3. Carmelo Anthony – 475 points
28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Carmelo Anthony was in 2013. Backed by Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, he led the league in scoring. Anthony and the Knicks had a 54-28 record, good for 2nd place. Make way for the East, and it was based on a superstar marker. Anthony was the soul of a Knicks franchise that eventually became a contender again, even though it only made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
4. Chris Paul – 289 points
16.9 PPG, 3.7 PPG, 9.7 PPG, 2.4 PPG, 0.1 BPG.
Photo Harry Howe/Getty Images
Chris Paul is back where he left off last season: He leads the Los Angeles Clippers and improves all aspects of the franchise. Paul finished second in assists per game behind Rajon Rondeau (11.1 APG) and was also first in steals per game. Although Paul was the best point guard, the Clippers finished the season in 4th place in the West with a 56-26 record.
5. Kobe Bryant – 184 points
£27.3, £5.6, £6.0, £1.4, £0.3
Kobe Bryant played the role of MVP until the end. In the final season of the true black mamba, he tore his Achilles tendon, ending his reign as one of the best players in the world. Bryant played 78 games, put up monster stats and carried the Lakers on his back to help them to the playoffs. For his efforts, he landed in the top five votes for best player.
MVP Race 2014
1. Kevin Durant – 1232 points
32.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Compulsory credit : Alonzo Adams-USA Sports Today
Kevin Durant got his first and only MVP of the 2014 season. He played 81 of 82 games and lost 38.5 MPH. He also led the NBA in scoring with 32.0 PPG and was named to the All-Star team’s top scorer list. Durant never excelled at scoring during the 2014 season, and with 3 games left against the Spurs, Durant was the undisputed MVP.
2. LeBron James – 891 points
27.1 PPG, 6.9 PPG, 6.3 PPG, 1.6 PPG, 0.3 BPG.
LeBron James was, by most accounts, the best player in the world. No player had as much impact on the game as King, and his overall performance was unmatched. LeBron and the Miami Heat have been favorites for the NBA championship all season and are just two games behind the Indiana Pacers for first place in the standings. LeBron may have been a better player than Durant, but Durant had slightly better stats and a dominant offensive season.
3. Blake Griffin – 434 points
£24.1, £9.5, £3.9, £1.2, £0.6.
(via Sports Illustrated)
2014 was a strange year as Blake Griffin stayed healthy and was one of the best players in the world. He was the most dominant player for the Clippers, who finished third behind the Spurs and Thunder. Make way for the West. Griffin had his best season this year and earned 3rd place in the MVP race.
4. Joakim Noah – 322 points
£12.6, £11.3, £5.4, £1.2, £1.5.
Joakim Noah was also a force on both ends of the field in 2014. Of course, he won Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-Star Team for the second year in a row. The Chicago Bulls finished the season only fourth team in the East, so Noah had no chance to win the award, but he was still sensational on the field.
5. James Harden – 85 points
£25.4, £4.7, £6.1, £1.6, £0.4
James Harden will play in the NBA in the 2014 season. Harden shocked the world with his play in the 2013 season, but when he had another great season in 2014, he was poised to become the best shooter in the NBA. Harden was big enough to lead the Rockets to fourth place in the West, and with Dwight Howard, Houston looked like a force to be reckoned with.
MVP Race 2015
1. Stephen Curry – 1198 points
23.8 PPG, 4.3 PPG, 7.7 PPG, 2.0 PPG, 0.2 BPG
Stephen Curry was the MVP of the 2015 season for being the best player on the best team in the NBA. The Warriors set a new record with 67 wins, and Curry’s unstoppable shot helped. Curry shot 48.7% from the field, 44.3% from three-point range and 91.4% from the free throw line. The Warriors’ problem was huge, culminating in a season-ending victory in the NBA.
2. James Harden – 936 points
27.4 PPG, 5.7 PPG, 7.0 PPG, 1.9 PPG, 0.7 BPG
(via Space City Scoop)
James Harden had a legitimate chance to win an NBA title. He made the Houston Rockets a strong contender for second place in the West, and his offense was undeniably great. Beard carried the Rockets all season, and the only reason he didn’t become MVP is because Curry’s Warriors had a better record.
3. LeBron James – 552 points
25.3 PPG, 6.0 PPG, 7.4 PPG, 1.6 PPG, 0.7 BPG.
Of course, LeBron James was in the discussion for MVP, as always. Cleveland was seeded second in the Eastern Conference, and it was LeBron’s dominance in the standings that led the team to the Finals. But the MVP is the award of the regular season, and the fact that the Cavaliers had the fourth-best record in the NBA made him third in the race.
4. Russell Westbrook – 352 points
£28.1, £7.3, £8.6, £2.1, £0.2.
Compulsory credit : Jennifer Stewart-USA Sports Today
The Oklahoma City Thunder have had a very difficult season. Kevin Durant played only 27 games and missed the rest of the season due to injury. Russell Westbrook has had to carry a below average team all season, and although he didn’t make the playoffs, his impact was certainly great for his team. Without Westbrook, the Thunder would have been in the draw and just missed the playoffs by the tiebreaker.
5. Anthony Davis – 203 points
£24.4, £10.2, £2.2, £1.5, £2.2
Mar 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Pelicans beat the Pistons 88-85. Mandatory credit : Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Davis made it to the playoffs with the New Orleans Pelicans at the age of 21. He was already the best big man in the NBA, and his skills were already legendary. A double-double, number 8 and a chance at a young age made him a top contender for MVP. Anthony Davies didn’t stand a chance, but the fact that he is competing shows how good he is.
MVP Race 2016
1. Stephen Curry – 1310 points
£30.1, £5.4, £6.7, £2.1, £0.2.
credit : Getty Images
Stephen Curry, the first undisputed MVP in history, led the Golden State Warriors to a 73-9 Western Conference record. This is also the year that Curry established himself as the best shooter of all time, and there’s no debate anymore. Curry and Klay Thompson were the best duo in the NBA during the regular season, and Curry won his second consecutive MVP.
2. Kawhi Leonard – 634 points
£21.2, £6.8, £2.6, £1.8, £1.0
Kyle Terada-USA Today’s Sports
Second place went to San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard. Leonard and the Spurs finished second in the West and had an outstanding year in terms of points and blocks. Leonard has blossomed as a scorer for the franchise and seemed ready to take over from Tim Duncan. Claw came into 2016, and his second place finish in the MVP race is proof of that.
3. LeBron James – 631 points
£25.3, £7.4, £6.8, £1.4, £0.6
Maddie Meyer Photography/Getty Images
LeBron James led Cleveland to 57 wins in the Eastern Conference and was efficient as usual. The only problem is that Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard had much better records than King. Curry won 73 games with the Warriors, while Leonard won 67 with the Spurs. LeBron’s stats were great, but his record was not.
4. Russell Westbrook – 486 points
23.5 PPG, 7.8 PPG, 10.4 PPG, 2.0 PPG, 0.3 BPG
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two superstars in the top five of the MVP voting. Russell Westbrook averaged a double-double on the season, played in 80 games and had the best year of his career so far. Westbrook wanted to take Curry’s spot and will get it next year.
5. Kevin Durant – 147 Points
28.2 PPG, 8.2 PPG, 5.0 PPG, 1.0 PPG, 1.2 BPG.
Kevin Durant finished 5th in the MVP voting. Place and led the Oklahoma City Thunder to third place in the West. Behind the Warriors and the Spurs, the Thunder had a legitimate shot at the title. But Durant finished tied with Russell Westbrook for playing in eight fewer games and failing to reach a double-double.
MVP Race 2017
1. Russell Westbrook – 888 points
£31.6, £10.7, £10.4, £1.6, £0.4.
Russell Westbrook was the most unstoppable player in the NBA in 2017, there was no doubt about it. Westbrook had a triple-double for the first time since Oscar Robertson, and he led the Thunder to the playoffs without Kevin Durant. Westbrook had the stats and dominance on his side, but the Thunder had no help for Westbrook, making his MVP season even more impressive.
2. James Harden – 753 points
£29.1, £8.1, £11.2, £1.5, £0.5.
(via Hoops Habit)
James Harden was the MVP in 2017 as he led the NBA in assists per game and was second in scoring. Beard also led the Houston Rockets to third place in the Western Conference, behind Durant and the Warriors and Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. Harden began his NBA reign by missing his legendary season to Westbrook.
3. Kawhi Leonard – 500 Points
25.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Kawhi Leonard is expected to become the Spurs’ next franchise player after Tim Duncan. And that’s in 2017, which was the average for a PCO career at that time. The taciturn attacker was a force on both ends of the court and his dominance led the Spurs to 61 wins and second place in the Western Conference.
4. LeBron James – 333 points
26.4 PPG, 8.6 PPG, 8.7 PPG, 1.2 PPG, 0.6 BPG.
King was in familiar territory, as he was left out of the MVP lineup because he was too good. We saw it with Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, when several players had the chance to win the MVP award. But LeBron, as usual, pitched high and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to second place in the Eastern Conference. James was so good that he even finished ahead of the man who led Boston to the best record in the East.
5. Isaiah Thomas – 81 points
28.9 PPG, 2.7 PPG, 5.9 PPG, 0.2 BPG
Compulsory credit : Joe Camporeale-USA Today’s Sports.
Isaiah Thomas has become a franchise superstar and a favorite among Boston’s loyal fans. He did his part by putting down 28.9 PPG for the best team in the East. The Celtics had a 53-29 record and that was a big problem on both ends of the court. With the help of defenders Avery Bradley, Al Horford and Jay Crowder, Thomas was unstoppable on offense. His reign didn’t last long, as a year later he was traded to Kyrie Irving, but his season will never be forgotten.
MVP Race 2018
1. James Harden – 965 points
30.4 PPG, 5.4 PPG, 8.8 PPG, 1.8 PPG, 0.7 PPG.
James Harden finally broke through and won the MVP award. This win is long overdue for Harden and all his fans, as he had a huge opportunity to win last year. Harden has been exceptional offensively and has led the Rockets to the best record in the NBA. The Warriors were the favorites for the title, but Harden was arguably the best player of 2018.
2. LeBron James – 738 points
27.5 PPG, 8.6 PPG, 9.1 PPG, 1.4 PPG, 0.9 BPG.
(via The New York Times)
LeBron James was at his best for the Cavaliers and nearly pulled off a triple-double for Cleveland. Unfortunately for James, the Cavaliers had a very mediocre record, so he had no chance of catching James Harden. The Cavaliers have a 50-32 record, which is good for 4th in the East, but his numbers are fantastic and there is no doubt who the best all-around player in the game is.
3. Anthony Davis – 445 points
£28.1, £11.1, £2.3, £1.5, £2.6.
(via Business Insider)
Anthony Davis is ranked as one of the top five players in the world, possibly in 2018. The Pelicans’ superstar played like the best big man in the NBA and even led New Orleans to the playoffs with a solid 48-34 record. The Western Conference was very competitive in 2018, and the Pelicans’ season saw Davis finish in the top 3.
4. Damian Lillard – 207 points
£26.9, £4.5, £6.6, £1.1, £0.4
Damian Lillard led the Portland Trail Blazers to a surprising third place finish in the Western Conference and was fourth in the NBA in scoring behind James Harden, Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Lillard exploded onto the scene as a top 5 player in the game, and no one can argue with that in 2018.
5. Russell Westbrook – 76 points
25.4 PPG, 10.1 PPG, 10.3 PPG, 1.8 PPG, 0.3 BPG.
After being named MVP the year before, Westbrook finished fifth in 2018. He scored three doubles for the second straight season to lead the Thunder to fourth place in the West. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant received MVP votes, Westbrook’s incredible season earned him a top 5 spot.
MVP Race 2019
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 941 points
£27.7, £12.5, £5.9, £1.3, £1.5
Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first MVP award after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to become the only team with 60 NBA wins. The Greek Freak had a double-double, grabbed three rebounds and picked up his sixth win of the season. The Bucks and Giannis were the expected favorites in the East, even for the Toronto Raptors led by Kawhi Leonard. The race between him and Harden was also very exciting.
2. James Harden – 776 points
36.1 PPG, 6.6 PPG, 7.5 PPG, 2.0 PPG, 0.7 BPG
(via Space City Scoop)
Although James Harden felt Giannis didn’t deserve the MVP and was just long, he still finished second to the Greek Freak. At one point in 2019, Harden was the MVP candidate, but the Bucks kept winning and the Rockets dropped to fourth place in the Western Conference. That was the difference, after all. Harden is still coming off an MVP-caliber year, and he’s increasingly establishing himself as the most unstoppable scorer of all time.
3. Paul George – 356 points
28.0 PPG, 8.2 PPG, 4.1 PPG, 2.2 PPG, 0.4 BPG.
Paul George has been absolutely sensational for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019. After setting records in scoring and rebounding, George is in the best physical shape of his life. His postseason was a bit of a disappointment, but that shouldn’t take away from his dominant season. George was 2nd in the NBA in scoring behind James Harden and 3rd in MVP voting.
4. Nikola Jokic – 212 points
20.1 PPG, 10.8 PPG, 7.3 PPG, 1.4 PPG, 0.7 PPG.
credit : Getty Images
Nikola Jokic is probably the best MVP in 2021, but he’s starting to prove himself in 2019. The big man was a force in the offense, and usually Denver played through him. Jokic acted like he was the best player on a Denver team that finished second in the Western Conference, just three games behind Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors.
5. Stephen Curry – 175 points
£27.3, £5.3, £5.2, £1.3, £0.4
Stephen Curry has been the Warriors’ best player in 2019, scoring the most points on the team, ahead of Kevin Durant (26.0 PPG). Durant finished 8th in the 2019 MVP voting. Place and showed his great talent in Golden State. The Warriors had the best record in the Western Conference, but Curry was too useful to be the most valuable player and finished 5th.
2020 MVP Race
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 962 points
29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG
(via Buck Pass)
Giannis was named the 2020 MVP after a monster double-double average in which the Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the NBA for the second consecutive season. Giannis was also named defender of the year, having the best season of his career so far. As great as LeBron James was, Giannis Antetokounmpo won his second consecutive MVP in 2020.
2. LeBron James – 753 points
25.3 PPG, 7.8 PPG, 10.2 PPG, 1.2 PPG, 0.5 PPG.
(via the Boston Globe)
As we’ve seen over the past decade, LeBron James is just missing out on another MVP title. James was sensational, as always, and he was the best player on the best team in the Western Conference. Although Giannis was MVP, James had the last laugh and won his 4th game. Championship and its 4. MVP of the final.
3. James Harden – 367 points
34.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG
credit : Getty Images
James Harden will be competing in the MVP race again this season, so it’s no surprise that he finished in the top 3 last year. Beard was unstoppable offensively and helped the Rockets to the fourth seed in the West in a thrilling game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
4. Luka Dončić – 200 points
28.8 PPG, 9.4 PPG, 8.8 PPG, 1.0 PPG, 0.2 BPG.
Last season Luka Doncic became a superstar and one of the ten best players in the world. His numbers and impact were MVP-level, but he didn’t have the team effort that the Lakers, Bucks or Rockets did. Doncic led an average Mavericks team to their 7th win in a row. Place in the highly competitive West.
5. Kawhi Leonard – 168 Points
27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPM, 4.9 RPM, 1.8 RPM, 0.6 BPG.
credit : Getty Images
Kawhi Leonard was his usual two-game player and dominated both offensively and defensively for the Clippers. After the Lakers, the team with the best chance to win it all in the West is the #2 Clippers. Leonard hit a team-record .681 in Los Angeles and was just 3.5 games behind LeBron James and the Lakers.
Credit for the idea: The NBA debate
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