The NBA season has not yet begun, but some are already looking at its conclusion. Today, the oddsmakers of Bovada shared their list of players with the best shot at winning the league’s MVP award. The top of the list should not surprise: Russell Westbrook, last year’s winner, and Kevin Durant, arguably the world’s most complete player who also happens to be in his prime.
Here’s the full list:
The top five is rounded out by, who else, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James (the best player in the world who is also modestly exiting his prime), and James Harden. (Another aside: it is wild that OKC had three MVP-calibre players on their team at one time. Oof.) It really does point to the talent level of the NBA right now that the unanimous MVP from two years ago, Steph Curry, is now seventh on the list, behind the hard charging Giannis Antetokounmpo. What a world.
Of interest to Raptors fans is this: both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan made the list, and while it is wildly unrealistic to think they’ll win the award, it does speak to their place in the league hierarchy. As recently as a couple of years ago, DeRozan wasn’t anywhere near the discussion for MVP, let alone the All-NBA team. And now he’s involved in both. (Yes, far outside the actual MVP picture, but still.) Lowry, meanwhile, has essentially bullied his way into the discussion as one of the top players in the league after years of being something of an afterthought. It is cool to root for these guys.
Now we have to highlight the fact that DeRozan is somehow a 50-to-1 favourite while Lowry is listed at 100-to-1. I don’t want to tell the numbers guys in Vegas how to do their job, but this seems mildly insane. Admittedly, for stretches of last season, DeRozan did a lot of the Raptors’ heavy lifting — he had to, given some of the struggles of his teammates, and injuries to his All-Star running mate. But the team’s ultimate ceiling always comes back to Lowry.
Still, something tells me this is one rating that won’t have DeRozan jumping in to say: FOH.