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NBA MVP Special: The Rise of Luka Doncic

The 2019-20 NBA regular season has seen some slight surprises to start the year but none more shocking than the ascension of Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic.

The 20-year-old’s upward trajectory has put him firmly in the discussion for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award and oddsmakers have had to move quickly to reduce exposure and adjust his odds.

Before the start of the season, Doncic was +5000 to win MVP, which was 16th on the oddsboard and just behind Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker. In our last MVP update just on November 18, his odds were down to +1600 as he’s been a one-man wrecking crew on offense and is pacing the Mavericks in nearly every offensive category.

Now, coming off a theatrical performance of 41 points, 10 assists and six rebounds vs the Rockets on November 24, Doncic has firmly made it known to bettors that he’s a serious threat to Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden to win MVP with his odds all the way down to +325 at Bovada.

As of November 25, Doncic is averaging 30.6 points per game (ranked second in the NBA), 10.1 rebounds (ranked 12th), 9.8 assists (ranked second) and 33.35 in player efficiency rating (ranked first), with the Mavericks at 11-5 SU in 16 games.

Has a Player Ever Won MVP In His Second Season?

You have to go all the way back to the 1970-71 regular season to find the last time an NBA player won the Most Valuable Player trophy in his second season.

Lew Alcindor, or famously known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, took the hardware in his second season and is one of four players to ever win MVP honors within his first two seasons in the league. Here are the four players to ever accomplish this feat:

  • Bill Russell - NBA MVP - Second season - 1957-58
  • Wilt Chamberlain - NBA Rookie of Year and MVP - 1959-60
  • Wes Unseld – NBA Rookie Of Year and MVP - 1968-69
  • Lew Alcindor - NBA MVP - Second season - 1970-71

This is it. That’s the list. All four were centers and depending on how you rank all-time NBA players, three of them are in the top 10 to ever take the court.

If Luka was to pull this off, which again is a pretty big long shot despite the +450 odds, he would join a group of players who have a collective 16 MVP trophies and 14 NBA championships. Doncic would also be the youngest recipient of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, with Derrick Rose now holding the record at 22 years, six months.