Being the Most Valuable Player for a full 82 game season is nothing easy, as you have to compete for it against the best athletes in the entire world that are also pursuing not just personal glory, but also the opportunity to take their respective teams to the ultimate level of the competition.
And that’s precisely what makes this award so subjective and polemic, as even if some guys may have better stats, the impact these players have on winning and contending teams wind up overweighting personal numbers, as what matters the most in the end is how valuable they are for the best teams in the Association.
Sadly, that’s why some monster seasons like the one Anthony Davis just had are just forgotten, as even if they were incredibly impressive, the fact that that kind of players couldn’t lift their squads past adversity takes a huge toll on the final voting.
Thus, today we’re going to take the extremely complicated task of ranking the last 10 MVP campaigns, so sit down and enjoy the ride.
10. Stephen Curry – 2015
This one is perhaps one of the most discrete performances for an MVP winner, although you just can’t deny the fact that he was the best player in the best team (by far) in the Association over the entire season.
Still, during his first of back to back MVP seasons, the three point specialist managed to put very decent numbers on the stat sheets, averaging 23.8 points on 48% from the field, 44% from deep and 91% from the line to go along with 4.3 rebounds, 7.7 dimes and 2 steals per game.
9. Derrick Rose – 2011
Derrick Rose’s impact on the team was incredibly impressive, taking away the award from LeBron James and leading the Chicago Bulls out of the gate to their most successful season of the decade thanks to his vertiginous speed, his athleticism, his clutchness and his competitiveness.
Besides, the fact that the former Rookie of the Year did so in just his 4th season in the league and at the tender age of 22 made it even better, averaging 21.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.9 helpers and 0.9 steals per game before his career changing injury.
8. Kobe Bryant – 2008
The Black Mamba had a monster season at age 30, leading his beloved Los Angeles Lakers to the first of back to back Championships and proving Kobe Bryant still had a lot left in the tank, and that he could actually win without Shaq on the team to shut his haters up for good.
Playing (and obviously starting) in all 82 games, Kobe Bryant averaged 28.3 points on 45% from the court, also setting his teammates up in 5.4 opportunities per contest, and rebounding 6.3 misses per game in one of his best seasons ever.
7. LeBron James – 2012
How incredible it is that LeBron actually makes our list 4 times out of 10? You have to give it to the King as the most dominant player in the past decade and perhaps the best small forward in the history of the game.
Having his second season alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, LeBron averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 boards and 6.2 dimes per game shooting over 53% from the court despite playing the 3 and the 4.
6. LeBron James – 2013
And the very next season, the King did it again, winning back to back NBA Championships as well as back to back Most Valuable Player Awards, signing his name for ever in the books of history of the National Basketball Association.
So, after an already impressive season, LeBron James knocked everybody off their feet again, posting averages of 26.8 points on 56% shooting, to go along with 8 rebounds and 7.3 assists with 1.7 steals per game.
5. LeBron James – 2009
We know, it’s getting ridiculous at this point, but LeBron James earns the third consecutive spot on our list thanks to his amazing 2009 run, being the youngest player in the history of the league to win the award at the time and the first Cleveland Cavalier ever to earn that distinction.
Still, he wasn’t able to lift his Cavs past Hedo Turkoglu, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, despite posting incredible averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 helpers per game on almost 50% from the floor at the age of 24.
4. Stephen Curry – 2016
At age 27, Stephen Curry winds up sealing the performance of a lifetime and got sure to get paid a lot of money at the end of the next campaign, putting together a way more impressive MVP season that the prior to shut his doubters up.
Sadly, he couldn’t put the cherry on top of the sundae with back to back NBA Championships, but his averages of 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game on over 50% from the field, over 40% from three and over 90% from the line, as well as racking up an absurd 886 three pointers on the season, a career high for him and of course, the league’s historical record.
3. Kevin Durant – 2014
At just 25 years old, Kevin Durant stated that he was sick and tired of being number two, and boy did he earned the right to be called the best player in the league at the time, despite struggling to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to another Championship run.
Still, Durant proved he was without a question “The Real MVP” with his sick averages of 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, shooting over 50% from the field and almost 90% from the line, something absurd considering how tall this guy actually is.
2. LeBron James – 2010
You must be tired of hearing about this guy, but gladly this is the last time we’ll name him (for now), as LeBron James once again won the distinction after also doing it the prior season, actually winning it 4 times in 5 seasons.
Nonetheless, this wasn’t also a successful playoff run despite playing alongside former glory Shaquille O’Neal, losing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics before leaving Cleveland, averaging 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists 1.6 steals and 1 block per game.
1. Russell Westbrook – 2017
And last but not least, we get the most monstrous season we’ve seen in a lifetime, and perhaps the best individual campaign we’ll ever see, as Russell Westbrook managed to pull off the unthinkable and actually averaged a freaking triple double for a full season.
Of course, the lack of a better support cast and some poor decisions down the stretch made Russell fall short on the postseason again, but the fact that he actually stepped up to the occasion and lived up to the task to do it all for the Thunder without Durant makes him even more impressive.
Posting absurd 41 triple doubles over the entire season, Russell Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game, finally earning the deserve he so much deserves and of course, the Most Valuable Player Award.