The race for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, is very tight this year. You can make a credible case for six players; Devin Booker, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic. No matter who wins the MVP, there will be a great argument for one of the runner-ups. I wanted to take a look at some of the past runner-ups and see if the award was given to the wrong player.
Russell Westbrook with his MVP Award (Photo via Bleacher Report)
In the 2016-17 season, Russell Westbrook was the first player to average a triple-double over an entire season since Oscar Robertson did it in the 1961-62 season. Westbrook averaged 31.6 points per game, which led the league. He also averaged 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, while shooting 42% from the field and 34% from three. Westbrook led the OKC Thunder to the six seed in the western conference playoffs with a record of 47-35.
I believe if Westbrook averaged 9.5 assists instead of 10.4 assists, he doesn't win the MVP. Don't get me wrong, what Westbrook did was amazing, but we as NBA fans and NBA pundits were so enamored with the words, "Triple-double" , that we didn't look at other players who were just as, if not, more impactful than Westbrook.
In the 2016-17 season, Kawhi Leonard, was third in defensive player of the year voting, while averaging 25.5 points, and 5.8 rebounds, while shooting 48% from the floor, and 38% from three. Leonard led the San Antonio Spurs to the second seed in the western conference, with a record of 61-21. Leonard had more of an impact on a successful team that year. The 2016-17 MVP is Leonard's lost MVP.
Derrick Rose with his MVP award. (Photo courtesy of NBA)
In the 2010-11 season, Derrick Rose won the most valuable player award after leading the Chicago Bulls to the best record in the eastern conference, 62-20. Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history behind his numbers of 25 points and 7.7 assists per game, while shooting 44% from the floor and 33% from three point range.
Rose definitely had a great season but we have to address the narrative that year. LeBron James was looked as a villain by most of the NBA fans and MVP voters for joining the Miami Heat in the fashion in which he did it. James averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7 assists per game, while shooting 51% from the floor. James also finished top ten in defensive player of the year voting for the team that finished with second best record in the eastern conference.
If it was not for "The Decision", the show and the actual decision to take his talents to Miami, LeBron would of been the only player in history to have five straight MVPs. Rose had an amazing year but that is LeBron's lost MVP.
Former NBA commissioner David Stern handing Kobe Bryant his MVP award (photo provided by Bleacher Report)
Kobe Bryant is one of the top ten players in NBA history and going into the 2007-08 season hadn't won an MVP award yet. It felt silly that someone who had the talent and production of Bryant hadn't won the MVP award. So Bryant went into that season with a head start on the MVP race, and to his credit, he played well enough to hold on to that lead through out that season.
Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the western conference, 57-25, while averaging, 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game while shooting 45% from the floor, and 36% from three point range. This is definitely a MVP worthy season but Bryant also had the narrative behind him that season.
If Bryant had already won an MVP award then the award would of went to the player who led the one of the biggest turn arounds in NBA history from one season to the next. Chris Paul led the New Orleans Hornets to the second best record in the western conference, 56-26, after they were 39-43 the previous season.
Paul averaged 21.1 points per game, along with 11.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game, which both led the league. Paul's impact on winning was so evident that season as he had the entire offense on his back and was a great defender. This was CP3's lost MVP.
There are so many examples of "Lost MVP's". Please give me the years that you thought the MVP award should of gone to someone else and let us know why in the comments.