The 2019-20 NBA season is less than a week away, and that means it's prediction time. Which teams will make the playoffs? Who will win it all? Which players will take home the major awards? These are all fun questions to think about and discuss, and perhaps none more so than who will win MVP.
NBA MVP is not only the most prestigious individual award in basketball, but arguably across all major sports. So who is it going to be this season? Well, let's take a look at the odds, courtesy of Westgate SuperBook, to get an idea of the front-runners heading into the season.
|PLAYER||TEAM||2019-20 NBA MVP ODDS|
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
The names at the top of the list should be no surprise. Coming off his first MVP Award last season, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo enters as the favorite to win the award in back-to-back years. You may be tempted to look elsewhere since he won it last season, but be wary. He's going to put up ridiculous numbers yet again, the Bucks are going to win 50-plus games and finish with one of the top seeds in the East and repeating as MVP is more common than you'd think. In fact, it's happened five times since 2002.
Up next are the Lakers' new star, Anthony Davis, and the Warriors' main man this season, Steph Curry. Davis will face the trouble of competing with his teammate, LeBron James, for not only stats, but MVP votes. However, he has the foundation of a strong narrative case in his first season with the Lakers. If they're as good as people expect, Davis will be one of the MVP favorites.
Curry, on the other hand, is suddenly devoid of superstar teammates. Kevin Durant is gone and Klay Thompson is out until sometime around the All-Star break. That means Curry is going to have to carry the Warriors this season, and he should put up some bonkers numbers. If you thought Curry was impressive the past few seasons, just wait until he's putting up 20-plus shots a night. But while Curry will have the numbers, his team success is more in question than Davis or Giannis.
Up next is James Harden, who checks in at +700, which just might be the best value on this list. The Rockets added Russell Westbrook, yes, but Harden was putting up historic numbers the past few seasons playing alongside Chris Paul, so there's no reason to believe his statistical output should take much of a drop. There are some questions about how good the Rockets will be this season in a crowded Western Conference, but even if they aren't one of the top few seeds, Harden figures to be right there in the MVP race.
Moving further down the list, another player with tremendous value is Joel Embiid at +1000. His injury history, conditioning issues and the fact that the 76ers figure to play it safe with him in terms of load management are valid reasons to be hesitant he can win MVP. After all, he's never played more than 64 games in a season, and only four players in NBA history have ever won MVP playing that few games. One was Bob Cousy in 1957 when the season was still only 72 games long, and two were because of lockout-shortened seasons -- Karl Malone in 1999 and LeBron James in 2012. Bill Walton, who won MVP in 1978 while playing 58 games, is the only one to ever accomplish that feat in a full 82-game season. However, Embiid's stats are going to be incredible and the Sixers are going to be awesome. If Embiid can get to somewhere around 70 games, he'll be right there in the MVP talks.