Lillard has averaged more than 25 points per game for four straight seasons and his numbers last year were incredible, he finished with 25.8 points, 6.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 35.5 minutes over 80 regular season games, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point range and he was dominant in the playoffs.
The star point guard led the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals while averaging 26.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 40.6 minutes over 16 games, shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Matt Schmitto of RotoGrinders shared interesting trends from past MVP winners:
- Nine of the last 10 NBA MVP winners have been either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in their respective conferences
- Only two NBA MVP winners (Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden) have played less than 76 games since 2001.
- Among the last 10 NBA MVP winners, eight have had the highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in the NBA
- Four of the last six winners have led the league in scoring
NBA MVP voters clearly value games played, playing for a contender, scoring and efficiency but Russell Westbrook proved in 2017 that historical numbers can make up for not being on one of the best teams.
Damian Lillard (+2800 to win the NBA MVP award at 5Dimes) has a great price and he has finished sixth and fourth in MVP voting recently. Being in the Western Conference doesn’t help Lillard’s chances, the Trail Blazers (+2250) are behind the Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Warriors, Jazz and Nuggets in the list of betting favorites to win the Western Conference but Portland is an underrated team that could at least get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
If everyone stays healthy and Lillard puts up historical numbers, the Trail Blazers can secure a top four seed in the West and he would join the NBA MVP conversation. Talented center Jusuf Nurkic (5.1 Box/Plus Minus) is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a serious leg injury last season and having him back would really help Lillard and the Trail Blazers go far, improving his MVP chances.
2019-20 NBA MVP Odds
(Courtesy of 5Dimes)
Giannis Antetokounmpo +300
Stephen Curry +550
Anthony Davis +750
James Harden +800
Joel Embiid +1200
LeBron James +1200
Kawhi Leonard +1200
Nikola Jokic +1800
Paul George +2000
Damian Lillard +2800
Russell Westbrook +3000
Kemba Walker +5000
Kyrie Irving +5000
Luka Doncic +5000
Donovan Mitchell +5000
Jimmy Butler +7500
Karl-Anthony Towns +7500