With the NBA season on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, many wonder if there will be a 2020 NBA season.
Whether the season concludes or not, it could be likely that the National Basketball Association will crown an MVP for the part of the regular season that has already been played.
The odds for NBA MVP shows that Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has been heavily favored for months. Some odds have favored the reigning MVP as the +285 favorite during the offseason with the Greek Freak’s odds steadily improving once the season began.
For those keeping score at home: Antetokounmpo’s having an impressive campaign this season. The Bucks forward is averaging 29.6 points 13.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game while recording a 58.3 effective field-goal percentage.
Worth noting: Antetokounmpo’s has a Player Efficiency Rating of 31.63. That is tied for the sixth-best single-season PER ever.
Antetokounmpo’s dominance, coupled with the Bucks’ NBA-leading 53-12 record, led to Giannis’ MVP odds getting as short as -700 in early March.
The next-best odds at the time belonged to LeBron (+750), who had been making a push prior to the shutdown. He had upped his averages to 25.7 PPG, 10.6 APG, and 7.9 RPG, with a 55.5 EFG% and 26.0 PER. While those were still well behind Giannis, a few things were working in LeBron’s favor: (1) Antetokounmpo had missed some games in early March; (2) there were legitimate questions about how much he would play down the stretch with the Bucks holding a 6.5-game lead in the East; and (3) the Lakers had just beat the Bucks in a primetime showdown and were only two games back of Milwaukee in the loss column (49-14).
There was a scenario in which Antetokounmpo rested for much of March/April, the Bucks’ dropped back record-wise, and James led the Lakers to the top seed in the much tougher Western Conference. If that had happened, the MVP vote would have been extremely close, even if Giannis maintained his edge in individual statistics.
But that can’t happen now. It’s still possible that the NBA concludes the season with some sort of modified playoff format. The regular season, however, is over, and MVP is a purely regular-season award.
That’s why the sportsbooks that still have NBA MVP futures up generally have Giannis at around -1000 to win the award at this point. He was the most-efficient player in the league on the best team in the NBA. There’s nothing anyone can do now to change that.
Is LeBron James the NBA’s MVP? On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I asked Jamal Crawford.
Check out a snippet from our dialogue below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Here’s the million dollar question. Is LeBron James this season’s MVP?
Jamal Crawford: I think he’s right there. I’m not sure because Giannis still has the best record. But what LeBron is doing right now at this point of his career, it’s unbelievable. Leading the League in assists, scoring 25 a night, and has the best record in the West. He’s not 1. Maybe Ia or 1b?