10. Stephen Curry, 2014-2015 Season, 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 2 steals per game with a 3PT% of 44.3, an eFG% of 59, and a PER of 28
I am still perplexed how Stephen Curry won the MVP for the 2014-2015 season as he only averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game, but he did have an impressive PSA of 129.3, the highest mark in the league for Point Guards that season. I know this was his first MVP award and he led the Warriors to a 67-15 record and an NBA Title, but there were more deserving players of the award that season, including LeBron James, who averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 assists, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game with an eFG% of 53.5, a PER of 25.9 and a PSA of 116.9, ranked in the 89th percentile for Forwards that year.
Russell Westbrook was also more deserving of the award, as he averaged 28.1 points, 8.6 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game with the second best PER in the NBA at 29 (1st was Anthony Davis who had an incredible 30.9 PER that year for the Pelicans) and a PSA of 107.1, ranked in the 75th percentile for Point Guards that season. Compared to Curry’s following season where he also won the MVP in 2015-2016, this was an MVP season many people will forget as it was by far the weakest of the last 10 years.
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2018-2019 Season, 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game with an eFG% of 59.9 and a PER of 30.9
This award was somewhat deserving, but the level of dominant NBA MVP seasons we have witnessed over the past decade is ridiculous and this is surprisingly the 9th best individual campaign. The “Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo, took his dominance to another level during the 2018-2019 season resulting in his first MVP award, but it wasn’t as impressive as the encore he gave the following year.
I also would not have given the award to Antetokounmpo this season, as great as he was. Coming off of an MVP win the previous year, James Harden averaged an NBA leading 36.1 points per game while also accumulating an impressive PSA of 125.9, the highest mark in the NBA for Combo Guards that season. Harden also dished out 7.5 assists and pulled in 6.6 rebounds per game while being a close second to Antetokounmpo in PER (30.5). I would have given my vote to Harden, but it is hard to argue against Antetokounmpo being deserving of the award following a breakout season.
8. James Harden, 2017-2018 Season, 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game with an eFG% of 54.1 and a PER of 29.8
James Harden absolutely deserved this award, but it wasn’t even his best individual season (as I mentioned in the above column on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 2018-2019 MVP season). Harden led the Rockets to 65 regular season wins, the 1 seed in the Western Conference, and boasted an impressive PSA of 125.7, the best mark in the NBA for Combo Guards that season. The Rockets defeated both the Timberwolves and Jazz before falling to the Warriors in Game 7 of an eventful Western Conference Finals. The fact of the matter is that Harden was the clear best player in the NBA in 2018 and he was just as dominant in the playoffs averaging 28.6 points per game with high-level efficiency.
7. Joel Embiid, 2022-2023 Season, 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game with an eFG% of 57.3 and a PER of 31.69
Joel Embiid’s 2022-2023 MVP season was dominant, as he first in RPM (10.46), finished second in PER ,(to Nikola Jokic’s 31.78 PER) and had arguably the best defensive season of his career. Embiid led the 76ers to 55 wins and the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference as they are currently playing in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Celtics.
Though Embiid’s scoring proficiency was incredible this season, Nikola Jokic deserved the award for a third consecutive year as he averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and a career high 9.8 assists per game with an eFG% of 66 and a PER of 31.78, which led the NBA. Embiid also only had a PSA of 131.7, ranked in the 81st percentile for Bigs, while “The Joker” had a PSA of 141.8, ranked in the 95th percentile for Bigs this season. Embiid had a great season but Jokic’s campaign was just a tad better and he led the Nuggets to the first seed in the Western Conference and a possible Western Conference Finals appearance.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2019-2020 Season, 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1 block per game with an eFG% of 58.9 and a PER of 31.9
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 2019-2020 season was legendary as he led the league in PER, averaged 30 points per game, had a PSA of 123.3, ranked in the 73rd percentile for Bigs, all while playing the best defense in basketball (he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season as well). The “Greek Freak” led the Bucks to 56 regular season wins and the first seed in the Eastern Conference, before eventually losing to the Miami Heat in the East Semi-Finals. Though he hasn’t won the award again since, Antetokounmpo is still very much so dominating in the NBA on both ends of the floor.
5. Kevin Durant, 2013-2014 NBA Season, 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game with an eFG% of 56 and a PER of 29.8
Kevin Durant‘s lone MVP season was a spectacular one as he led the league in scoring with 32 points per game, shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range, had a top 5 PER of 29.8, and boasted an incredible PSA of 128.6, ranked in the 98th percentile for Forwards that season. Durant led the Thunder to the 1 seed in the Western Conference and a Western Conference Finals appearance (as they lost to the Spurs in 6 games). Nonetheless, this was the most consistently dominant season of Durant’s career and he has yet to repeat this kind of greatness due to a slew of injuries in recent years.
4. Nikola Jokic, 2020-2021 Season, 26.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game with an eFG% of 60.2 and a PER of 31.3
Nikola Jokic’s first MVP season was one of the more impressive individual campaigns over the last decade, having one of the highest PER’s of all time and a PSA of 130, ranked in the 82nd percentile for Bigs that season. Jokic displayed his sheer brilliance at getting his teammates open and creating for himself offensively, and led the Nuggets to the 3rd best record in the Western Conference without Jamaal Murray (who had played 48 games before getting hurt yet again before the playoffs).
Though James Harden, Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, and Kevin Durant all had more impressive scoring seasons than either of Jokic’s MVP campaigns, Jokic’s ability to impact the game with his rebounding and playmaking alongside his scoring is simply unmatched throughout history at the Center position.
3. Russell Westbrook, 2016-2017 NBA Season, 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game with an eFG% of 47.6 and a PER of 30.6.
Despite not being the most efficient MVP season in recent memory, averaging a 30 point triple double over a full season is otherworldly and probably won’t be broken for the foreseeable future. Russell Westbrook absolutely willed this team to victory on a nightly basis as he accumulated a career high 30.6 PER and PSA of 111.5, ranked in the 65th percentile for Point Guards that season, but his 3.86 RPM and 47.6 eFG% weren’t spectacular by any means. Nonetheless, Westbrook put the team on his back and led the Thunder to the 6th seed in the Western Conference that ended in a first round series loss to the James Harden-led Rockets.
2. Nikola Jokic, 2021-2022 NBA Season, 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game with an eFG% of 62 and a PER of 32.9
Debating whether Curry’s record-breaking 2015-2016 MVP season or Jokic’s record-breaking 2021-2022 NBA season for the top spot was so difficult, but one of the greatest individual NBA seasons of all time comes in at 2. Nikola Jokic had an otherworldly PER of 32.9, the highest mark in NBA history as he put up the most efficiently dominant season in NBA history (also boasting a PSA of 134.5, ranked in the 88th percentile for Bigs that season) and led the Nuggets to the 6th seed in the Western Conference despite not having their second and third best players in Jamaal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
1.Steph Curry, 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game with a 3PT% of 45.4, an eFG% of 63, and a PER of 31.4
The best MVP season over the last decade is Stephen Curry’s miraculous 2015-2016 campaign where he hit a record 402 three pointers in just 889 attempts, a 45.4 percent clip, something that will likely never be eclipsed again. Curry also accumulated an ultra-impressive PSA of 135.6, ranked in the 98th percentile for Point Guards that season and the highest mark for a player with a high usage percentage. Not only did Curry have arguably the most efficient 30+ point per game season of all time, but his playmaking was just as impressive and the Warriors finished with an NBA record 73 wins before losing in the Finals to the LeBron James led Cavaliers.
Advanced Statistics used in this article are gathered from Cleaningtheglass.com and Statmuse.com and are updated as of Thursday May 4th, 2023