Luka Doncic is the odds on favorite to win the MVP for the 2021 – 22 season. When looking at the current NBA odds, is their value in this price? Luka Doncic has set the NBA on fire since entering the league in the 2018 draft. Luka was a former MVP in Europe and took his winning ways to the Dallas Mavericks, who he instantly transformed into a contender. However, who is the most valuable player and who wins the award are two separate things.
Luka truly might be the most valuable. For example, if you took him off the Mavericks they would be absolutely terrible. MVP is often a regular-season award that goes to the player who leads his team to the most wins. Luka doesn’t have the strongest teammates. Kristaps Porzingis is a pretty weak #2 option compared to the other #2s in the Western Conference. While we give the Mavericks credit for being aggressive in acquiring a potential superstar like Porzingis, he has been limited since he returned from injury and is a bad use of salary cap space at this point in his career.
Nikola Jokic is the current reigning MVP. Jokic had Denver in the running for the number one seed before late injuries crippled the team and ruined the Nuggets playoff chances. Jokic played in all 82 games, which in this day and age is quite the feat. If Luka is going to win MVP he’s going to have to show up in better shape than he did last year, and most likely need to play a vast majority of the games.
So Luka’s path to the MVP is moving Dallas into the top 4 in the West. Unfortunately, it’s hard to claim that Dallas’s off-season moves catapulted them into the elite tier of the West. The Mavericks re-signed Tim Hardaway Jr and traded Josh Richardson for Moses Brown and a trade exception. Dallas added Reggie Bullock, he is an above-average “3 and D wing” and should fit well. Sterling Brown is also a nice role player, but these aren’t additions that vault you into contention!
Also, in my mind, the Mavericks made a coaching downgrade by hiring Jason Kidd, who has produced horror stories of his time coaching the team in Milwaukee. Kidd replaces Rick Carlisle, who is a fantastic strategic coach. While he may have battled with Luka over the direction of the team, Carlisle is still a much better coach, with a steadier hand and more tactical knowledge. Losing Carlisle in favor of Kidd is another drawback in Luka’s candidacy.
While the Clippers will probably no longer be an obstacle in the West, the Lakers, the Suns, the Jazz, and the Nuggets all could finish ahead of Dallas quite reasonably. Even Portland might be able to with some of their recent additions, improving the team on the defensive end. So while we can expect MVP level numbers from Luka, will the team be able to create the MVP narrative by becoming a top team in the West? I do not think Dallas can do so. Dallas looks to be around 44-48 wins, finish 5th or 6th, and be the proverbial “Team no one wants to play” in Round 1.
At +360 Luka is nearly half the odds of the next highest contender on BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review), which is Steph Curry at +681. Giannis is +750, Kevin Durant is +800, and Lebron James is +850. At these prices, all these players provide more value than Luka Doncic. The best bet on the board right now is Kevin Durant at +800. Kevin Durant showed he was the best basketball player in the world in the playoffs last year. The Brooklyn Nets are poised to have the best record in the East and barring sitting out a bunch of games, there is no reason to believe that Kevin Durant will not prove he is still the best player in the world.
While James Harden’s excellence may funnel some votes away from Durant, at nearly twice the payout, Durant is a much better bet than Doncic. Giannis is also a good bet. After winning a title, the MVP narrative will come much easier and he looks to be a statistical juggernaut on an elite team. While Luka is a prime MVP candidate and poised to dominate the basketball world for the next 10 years, at this point, he is not a value to win the MVP award. Look to other players to find a better value, namely Kevin Durant.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.