It seems like it was yesterday when the Lakers beat the Heat in the NBA Finals in the bubble at Walt Disney World. Now after a quick offseason, the NBA returns to action with lots of storylines. Who will be the last team standing? How will some players fit with their next teams? And who will win the distinction of being the league’s most valuable player?
Today, we’re looking at the last question, assessing all the NBA Regular Season MVP odds and explaining why a third-year guard from Slovenia is the favorite to capture the award.
2021 Regular Season MVP odds and why Doncic is number #1 on the list
MVP Odds (via MyBookie)
Here are the latest odds from MyBookie to win the NBA MVP award.
- Mavericks PG Luka Doncic: +250
- Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo: +450
- Warriors PG Stephen Curry: +700
- Lakers SF LeBron James: +750
- Lakers PF Anthony Davis: +800
- Nets PF Kevin Durant: +900
- Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard: +1000
- Rockets SG James Harden: +1000
- Clippers SF Kawhi Leonard: +1400
- Nuggets C Nikola Jokic: +1800
- Celtics PF Jayson Tatum: +2000
- 76ers C Joel Embiid: +2000
- Suns SG Devin Booker: +2000
- Heat SF Jimmy Butler: +2500
- Pelicans PF Zion Williamson: +3000
- Wizards PG Russell Westbrook: +3300
- Jazz SG Donovan Mitchell: +3500
- Hawks PG Trae Young: +4000
- Nets PG Kyrie Irving: +5000
- Clippers SG Paul George: +6500
- Wizards SG Bradley Beal: +6500
- 76ers PG Ben Simmons: +6500
- Raptors PG Kyle Lowry: +6500
- Heat C Bam Adebayo: +8000
- Celtics SF Jaylen Brown: +8000
100/1 Odds or Greater
Pacers SG Victor Oladipo, Pelicans SF Brandon Ingram, Suns PG Chris Paul, Rockets PG John Wall, Celtics PG Kemba Walker, Raptors PF Pascal Siakam, Spurs SG DeMar DeRozan
Why is Luka the favorite?
By now, you know just how good the 21-year old Doncic is. In his second NBA season, Doncic averaged just under 29 points, 9.4 rebounds, close to nine assists, and a steal per game. He was in charge of a Mavericks team that went from 33-49 his rookie year to 43-32 and a playoff spot his second year, commanding an offense that finished with the highest offensive rating in NBA history. But despite all that, he finished just fourth in MVP voting as Antetokounmpo took home the award for the second straight year.
So what makes Luka the favorite this time around? For starters, he averaged close to a 30-point triple-double per game last season. When Russell Westbrook captured the MVP in the 2016-17 season, he averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists. The fact that Doncic is nearly at those numbers already, with room to grow in his three-point percentage and free throw percentage, shows how close he is to even surpassing Westbrook’s remarkable season.
One disadvantage Doncic could be at in the MVP race is if the Mavericks finish outside the top-four in the conference. Five of the last six MVP winners were on the team that had the best record in the league, Westbrook being the lone exception. Dallas added Josh Richardson from the 76ers but lost a couple shooters this offseason, and Kristaps Porzingis will miss the start of the season with an injury, so more pressure will be on Doncic to to carry Dallas to a higher seed in a tough Western Conference.
But in the end, Luka has more going for him in the MVP race than not. Voters are more likely to go for someone new instead of Giannis or LeBron again. The two other favorites who haven’t won an MVP, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, are great players, but either share the spotlight with another star in the case of Davis or are on a fringe-contender in the case of Lillard. So Doncic looks to have an advantage over the field barring a historic campaign from anyone else.
In actuality, Doncic is the likeliest to have the historic season. If the 21-year old can stay healthy, average 30 points with plenty of triple-doubles, and guide the Mavs to a great record, voters will be hard-pressed to not vote for him, making him the youngest MVP in league history.
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