Kevin Durant won the 2013-14 NBA MVP award, and it isn’t the past-award factor that keeps him from repeating this, but rather a foot injury that will cost him two months of the season. LeBron James’ return to Cleveland makes a nice story, too, and the MVP award is one that really comes down to those two.
But value picks make sense in the context of injuries, though James is rarely prone to such. One emerging big man warrants serious consideration…
Odds courtesy Of Bovada
LeBron James (10/11)
LeBron James is almost at 1:1 odds to win this award. That means a lot according to NBA oddsmakers and bettors alike. James puts up the most impressive stat-stuffing box scores, while also being part of a new contender in the East.
Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will complement James, not take away his opportunities. With LBJ able to focus more on playing off the ball, this season will represent a shift in his game. No longer counted upon to be a major facilitator as he was with Mario Chalmers at the 1-spot, James should grow this season. He can work on his post up game further, and be granted more wing isolation situations. He’s the favorite for a reason, in other words.
Kevin Durant (13/2)
Kevin Durant’s foot injury renders these as sucker’s odds. Durant is going to miss two months of the season, and it may take him longer still to get into game shape and establish his flow. There’s no denying that Durant has the talent to win this award, but OKC will have trouble remaining atop the standings with him out for two months. Russell Westbrook will carry the load, but still has a slim chance of winning the MVP according to NBA odds which list Russell with 16/1 odds.
Derrick Rose (10/1)
Derrick Rose hasn’t played a meaningful basketball game in over two years. He didn’t look great during the FIBA championships. Rose exhibited his skills much better in the preseason, but he’s going to continue to be over-relied upon in Tom Thibodeau’s offense.
Thibbs will need to limit the former-MVP’s minutes, but it’s hard to imagine a comeback season also being concurrent with an MVP season. Again, this is not a value pick.
Anthony Davis (14/1)
The only other worth considering in this realm is the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis. Davis became the first player under 22 years of age to average 22 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in a season. He’s an all-time great type of talent as a 4/5 man, and as he continues to age, his game will grow more. His dominance at such a young age is comparable only to David Robinson in terms of having the full package and coordination necessary to take over a game on both ends of the court.
John Calipari said Anthony Davis was the best shot blocker he had ever coached. That’s high praise from a coach who worked with perpetual shot swatters like Nerlens Noel and Marcus Camby.
Is it premature to expect the Brow to take this award this season? Maybe.
But his chances according to this writer are ahead of both Durant’s and Rose’s. 14/1 is a great value on a player who could easily post 25 and 12 this season and establish himself as the best power forward in the NBA.