Now that the 2018-19 basketball season is almost over, fans are looking forward to the presentation of the NBA awards, especially the league MVP honor. We know who the NBA MVP candidates are, but we have to wait until after the NBA Finals and the draft to find out who wins.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Paul George are the three finalists for the award. Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Joel Embiid were MVP candidates at one time, but they didn’t make the shortlist. So when will the league announce the 2019 NBA MVP? We’ll find out in a minute, but first let’s discuss how Harden could join elite company, and how the voting is different this year.
Multiple MVP titles
For those who think Harden doesn’t have a shot for MVP status since he took home the title last year, we say not so fast. There are plenty of players who won back-to-back NBA MVP awards:
- Stephen Curry (2015 and 2016)
- Steve Nash (2005 and 2006)
- Tim Duncan (2002 and 2003)
- LeBron James was a back-to-back winner twice (2009 and 2010 then 2012 and 2013)
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar did the same (1971 and 1972) and two more times (1973-74 and again in 1979-80)
- Michael Jordan (1990-91 and 1991-92)
Jordan was also named MVP in 1988, 1996 and 1998, all while playing for the Chicago Bulls. If you think that’s impressive, those who were awarded this honor three times in a row included Larry Bird (1984-1986), Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968), and Bill Russell (1961-63). Chamberlain won another NBA MVP award in 1960, and Russell won in 1958.
More viable votes
In the past, candidates for the MVP title were announced before the end of the season, but the NBA strayed away from this practice in 2017 when contenders were announced after the Golden Globes, and winners during an offseason awards show. As mentioned previously, Richard Harden won the 2018 NBA MVP award over LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Damian Lillard.
When it comes to voting, there are more changes afoot. In the past, team radio and television broadcasters cast votes, but the panel is now made up of 100 independent media members who hold no affiliation with any particular team, which only seems fair.
A peek at the contenders
With plenty of talent to choose from the 2018-19 season, we’re most likely looking at these three players who made it to the NBA finals and championship rounds:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ “Greek Freak,” has his own impressive threesome since he played in the last three consecutive All-Star games. Considering he led Milwaukee to the league’s best record by averaging a double-double, Giannis is also the odds-on favorite to take the title in 2019 in betting venues.
- Taking second place on the gambling ticket is Houston’s Harden. The Rockets eventually fizzled against the Warriors in game six, but James is still a runner in the MVP race. For the last two seasons, Harden led the league in points per game at 30.4 and 36.1, respectively, as well as 3-point attempts.
- Oklahoma City’s Paul George increased his scoring, rebounding, shooting percentage, free throw percentage, and steals per game this season, his second with the Thunder. However, injuries slowed him down the stretch, and those ailments could be bad news for the Thunder at the start of next season.
When will we find out the NBA MVP?
We know Giannis Antetokounmpo, Richard Harden, and Paul George are the MVP finalists. We know Harden can join select company with a win, and we know the voting is different this year. So when will we find out the winner?