In just about any season, LeBron James should probably be seen as one of the favorites to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. He’s won MVP four times thus far in his illustrious career (and, frankly, should probably have won it a couple other times) and, according to MyBookie, is listed as the odds-on favorite to come away with the award in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s how the list of favorites goes as of late Tuesday night, according to oddshark.com.
King James (+250) leads the pack at MyBookie followed by Anthony Davis (+330), reigning MVP James Harden (+400), Giannis “Greek Freek” Antentokounmpo (+400), Kevin Durant (+650), Kawhi Leonard (+800), Stephen Curry (+1200), Kyrie Irving (+1600), Joel Embiid (+1600), and Russell Westbrook (+1600) to round out the top 10 on the oddsboard.
As with all odds having to do with the Lakers, you have to take into account how public a team they are. All Lakers fans and their siblings are going to rush to anyone willing to take a bet (legally, of course ) to put money down on the biggest free agent signing their favorite team has made since Shaquille O’Neal.
Still, it’s worth wondering if there’s value to be had here.
James is going to be the driving force of a team that should increase its win total by double-digits fairly easily. If he gets them there, the Lakers will be a playoff team for the first time in half a decade. James isn’t surrounded by stars to take credit away from him in discussions of value to the team.
If he plays to expectations and the Lakers make the playoffs, it’s altogether possible that James could take home the award. Voters are also far enough removed from the last time James won the award that they might’ve moved off of any potential fatigue, and they usally love a good narrative about a player putting an illustrious franchise back on time.
Now, it’s also worth considering the other guys listed. Davis is extraordinarily talented and should garner plenty of attention on a team missing another superstar. Harden could replicate last season’s success. Giannis and his endless limbs could take another quantum leap forward. All kinds of things are possible given how talented the league currently is.
Still, I can’t help but agree with the oddsmakers here. If James lifts the Lakers back to the heights their fans expect, he’ll drive much of the conversation across the NBA next season, which is a good chunk of the battle. Here’s hoping the oddsmakers have this right.