How Does Kyrie Irving’s Move to Boston Affect The MVP Odds?

Sunday, September 17, 2017 4:35 PM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 17, 2017 4:35 PM UTC

After sitting around 250/1 before the blockbuster trade, Kyrie Irving’s MVP Odds have shortened tremendously since he was acquired by Boston. Right now Irving is anywhere from +1200 to +1600 to win the regular season MVP. 

Kyrie Irving is one of the craziest sports trades in recent memory. His request for a trade completely out of left field shook up an already memorable NBA offseason. All this moving and shaking means uncertainty in certain teams, and subsequently the NBA Odds too.

A big example of this is in the MVP odds. Not only has Irving entered an already crowded MVP discussion for 2017-18, but other guys like Lebron James seem like an even better value now as well.

MVP Odds  - BetOnline       


Russell Westbrook


Lebron James


Kevin Durant


Kawhi Leonard


James Harden


Giannis Antetokounmpo


Stephen Curry


Kyrie Irving



Even with Irving’s move to Boston, his future odds are not even among the top-seven favorites. His former teammate Lebron James, and last year’s MVP Russell Westbrook are the leading favorites at BetOnline, with a host of other worthy winners.

There are a few issues though as much as there is intrigue on Irving to win the award. Only one time has a player won the MVP in their first year with a new team, and that’s Steve Nash. However, Nash was a member of the Suns to start his career, so it’s not an exact comparison after he won the MVP in his return to Phoenix in 2004-05’.

MVP History

The Suns won 62 games the year that Steve Nash won the MVP. They made it all the way to the conference finals but were beaten up by the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs.

However, a Nash-like season with more scoring and a lot of Celtics wins might be what gets Irving over the top in a potential MVP debate. Below is a chart of all the MVP-winning point guards since the year 2000, with their season averages and team wins that season.

As you can see from the chart, the last seven point guards to win the MVP since the year 2000 have had an average of 60 team wins and 25 points per game. Russell Westbrook’s insane season last year with only 47 team wins, and Steve Nash’s years of averaging under 20 points per game and dishing out double-digit assists skews it slightly, but considering the current NBA landscape, those numbers are very attainable for Irving.

Irving set career-highs last year with 25.2 points per game with a 53.5 eFG%, and that was playing on a team with Lebron James. Even teaming with a guy like Gordon Hayward, Irving is going to easily lead his team in usage rate and points per game.

Plus, playing without a guy like James is going to let Irving thrive. Irving had a usage rate of more than 43 percent with James off the court last season, compared to just under 27 percent with he and James shared the court, according to NBA Wowy.

Just to put that into comparison, Westbrook won the MVP award with a usage rate of 41.7%, which led the league. Even with Hayward and a host of new teammates, I would be surprised if Irving’s usage rate (the percentage of team plays a certain player is used while on the floor) didn’t surpass 35 percent, and maybe even get close to 40. That’s going to translate into a lot of points, and potentially 30-plus per game.

With his talent, finishing ability, and weak conference, Irving has value in the MVP odds, the question is, just how much?

Lebron’s Award To Lose

If you look back in the previous section on the MVP Odds this season, James and Westbrook are the co-leaders. There is little chance Westbrook could repeat unless he matches his stats from last year and gets to the 55-60 win mark. Even then, it’s hard to win back-to-back MVPs, as only 11 guys have done it in league history. Westbrook would have to out-do himself, and that’s hard to see.

There are some other intriguing names on the list, but they either have too much help to deflect from a strong personal and team year, or their teams aren’t good enough like the Bucks.

Assuming Isaiah Thomas is going to play at some point this season, the Cavaliers are still the best team in the East. They also have a bargaining chip of the Nets’ first-round pick, which they could stash, or they could flip it to bring in another high-caliber player, to try and get Lebron one more title before what probably will be his exit from Cleveland.

The great part about it is, James’ numbers haven’t skewed much from his MVP days. Imagine if he puts up a Westbrook-style season in 2017-18’. The voters will be throwing the MVP award at him, and that could happen if he is tasked with adding more of the offense onto his plate.

Only Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have five MVP trophies, and after an already impressive career, some point to a fifth MVP as the next best thing to adding another championship or Finals trip for Lebron’s resume. I think Lebron knows this, and he is going to not only get better numbers this season, he is going for that fifth trophy, because in the back of his mind he knows he can’t beat Golden State, so a fifth MVP would potentially salvage what could be his last year in Cleveland.

In my eyes, right now the three guys worth betting on in the MVP Odds are Kevin Durant, Lebron or Irving. It would take the Celtics winning the East during the regular season, as well as about 30 points per game from Irving. However, all this being said, now that Irving is in Boston, this move may just help Lebron win his fifth MVP award.

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