Several NBA stars have won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards over the last three decades, but no player has won the award three times in a row since Larry Bird completed the feat in 1985/86. That’s not to say there weren’t times when a player could, or perhaps should, have won three consecutive MVPs — Michael Jordan immediately comes to mind. However, “voter fatigue” often works against repeat winners, as voters look for a fresh new face rather than choosing the same player year after year.
If voter fatigue is working against LeBron James, we haven’t seen it yet. Over the last five years, LeBron has won four MVP awards, with only Derrick Rose‘s excellent 2010/11 season preventing a clean sweep. Coming off back-to-back MVP and championship seasons, James still clearly looks like the NBA’s best player, and that’s why he was the ’13/14 MVP choice for four Hoops Rumors writers, myself included.
That still leaves four of us that didn’t choose LeBron though. Kevin Durant, whose Thunder will start the season without Russell Westbrook, was a popular MVP pick, and Chris Paul received a vote as well. It’s not hard to envision a scenario in which Durant leads the league in scoring and excels without Westbrook, building a strong case for himself. Similarly, if Paul leads the Clippers to more regular-season wins than Durant’s Thunder or LeBron’s Heat, his MVP narrative could gain momentum.
Of course, it’s possible that a dark horse candidate emerges as well. A healthy Rose should re-enter the picture, and I could imagine making a case for Carmelo Anthony if he repeats as the league’s scoring champ and helps the Knicks land home court for the first round of the playoffs. The same could be said of Stephen Curry and James Harden, if they were to challenge for the scoring title and lead their respective teams to a top-four seed in the West.
What do you think? Will LeBron become the first player since Bird to three-peat as NBA MVP, or will the award go to someone else this season?