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DAR Sports: The 15 Best NBA MVP Seasons

By @TrueGodImmortal

This season, the MVP race is heating up more than ever. We have Russell Westbrook leading the way with 32 triple doubles on the year, along with averaging a triple double through 66-67 games, which hasn't been done in nearly 40 years. Then, there's the near triple double average numbers from James Harden and a surefire 50 win Houston Rockets team that have pretty much secured the 3rd seed in the West. You could also throw Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James in there as well, making this a four man race, the first time that's been the case in a few years. For the last 3 seasons, it has mostly been a two man race or one man clearly led the way. Today, we take a look back at some of the greatest MVP seasons in NBA history, listing the 15 best of the best here. Honorable mentions would have to go to Moses Malone, some of the other MVP seasons from Jordan, Kareem, and Bron, as well as Wilt. Some of those just didn't crack the list, but the greatness of them is never denied. Let's get into it.

*Michael Jordan
(1991-1992: 30.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 6.1 APG, 2.3 SPG)

-I consider this to be the 3rd best season in Jordan's career. Which considering how many flawless and amazing seasons he had, that's saying a lot. This was the year after Jordan won his first title and he would get his first back to back MVP awards here. He was fully in his prime, offensively controlling the game and defensively stopping everyone else. He led the Bulls to a then franchise best 67-15 record, and they would end up in the NBA Finals again, earning his 2nd straight championship and Finals MVP in addition to the regular season MVP. Overall, this was another testament to his amazing greatness, and yet another reason why he is the greatest of all time. He was the epitome of untouchable and it showed in the wins and the leadership.

*Kevin Durant
(2013-2014: 32.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, Scoring Champion)

-When the Oklahoma City Thunder were at the top of their game, they seemed to be unstoppable, and KD was the true reason for that. Durant had just begun to hit his prime as an all around player and he was becoming a better player defensively, while still showcasing his dominance offensively and controlling the game for his team. Russell Westbrook went down with injury at some point and KD just put the team on his back and led them to the playoffs with a great record. Not to mention, we got the infamous "You Da Real MVP" acceptance speech because of this.

*Bob Mcadoo
(1974-1975: 34.5 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.1 BPG)

-When we look back at classic seasons in NBA history, how can we not acknowledge this one? McAdoo was a beast and he tends to go slept on in this day and age because of the time period he competed in. Make no mistake, he put up amazing numbers and helped to lead the Buffalo Braves to prominence and a 49 game winning season. I like to look at McAdoo's MVP season much like I see Westbrook this year. No other star player by his side, and no true heavy playmaker, but he led them and made sure they competed. McAdoo was the leader of the Braves and to what he did just two years after winning the Rookie of the Year says a lot about the quality of player he was also.

*Michael Jordan
(1995-1996: 30.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.2 SPG)

-There's no way you don't include the year Jordan led the Bulls to a 72-10 record and a NBA Championship on this list. There's no way. The 2nd best season of Jordan's career overall is also more amazing by the fact he had just returned from a near 2 year retirement. He had a rough going in the previous season in the minimal games he played, but the next season he was back to the MJ we all knew. His competitive drive led him to another All-NBA Defensive appearance, as well as another scoring title. Jordan might not have scored as many points this season as some of his younger seasons, but this was clearly him at the top of his game, leading the Bulls to the greatest season in NBA history (overall) and only improving his legacy even more.

*Wilt Chamberlain
(1967-1968: 24.3 PPG, 23.8 RPG, 8.6 APG)

-The final MVP award won by Wilt is essentially the best in his career. It's where he showcased he could dominate the game in every aspect. He nearly averaged a triple double this season and led the league in total assists, the first time a center had ever done that. It was a huge year for Wilt considering he had begun to get older and a bit slower, but he still dominated and learned how to facilitate even more. I think this is his best all around season in his career. Not as dominant in the post or with scoring, but a true all around year for Wilt.

*Kareem Abdul Jabbar
(1971-1972: 34.8 PPG, 16.6 RPG, 4.6 APG)

-Kareem began to take over as the top center of the game at this time. With Oscar Robertson by his side (though he was no longer in his prime), Kareem put the Bucks on his back and led them to a 63 win season after a 66 win season and title. He won a scoring title, led the league in rebounds, and this is the season that I think defines his legacy the absolute best as a regular season player. It's where he stepped up and led his team as a younger player and helped to earn a second 60 win season.

*LeBron James
(2009-2010: 29.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 8.6 APG, All Defensive First Team)

-Choosing between the two Cleveland LeBron MVP seasons is tough, but this one has to take the cake. If anything, this is the year I think it became clear that Bron was the best player in the league. He was efficient and leading the team to a crazy 61-21 record, which was clearly no easy feat when you look at everyone that was on team. In addition to that, Bron was playing superb defense, scoring at will, and showcasing why he is the leader he is. This is my personal favorite season of LeBron's.

*Magic Johnson
(1986-1987: 23.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 12.2 APG, All-NBA)

-Magic was amazing just about every season, but this season was truly special. Averaging nearly 24 points a game and 12 assists, he was able to step up in a major way for the Lakers when they needed him most. A mid-season injury to Kareem could have slowed down their momentum, but there's no denying that Magic stepped up as a leader. He would not only lead them to a NBA Championship, but he also registered his highest amount of games played this season, showing that he was there for to be the playmaker and offensive driver that they needed. His first of three MVPs would be his best.

*Shaquille O'Neal
(1999-2000: 29.7 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 3.8 APG)

-As crazy as it sounds, we never saw Shaq reach his full potential. I know, many think we did, but the closest we ever got to that was this season. This was Shaq unleashed, bullying in the post, blocking shots, pulling down rebounds, and dunking on everybody in sight. It's his best individual season, and it was where he showed that he could be the leader of a team and carry them to a championship. The Lakers finished with a 67-15 record and the NBA Title, but Shaq finished with a scoring title as well as leading the league in field goal percentage. The scariest part? We know Shaq could have been even MORE dominant.

*Tim Duncan
(2001-2002: 25.5 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.5 BPG)

-Duncan is one of the greatest players of all time, and though he has won back to back MVP awards, his first win was the most important and his best individual season period. This was the year that we knew for sure that it was now Duncan's team and David Robinson had completely passed the torch. He made the All-NBA Defensive Team as well and of course led the league in rebounds, putting up his highest scoring average with 25.5 and he was the closest he had ever been to winning a scoring title (he finished 7th in scoring). Superb season.

*Michael Jordan
(1987-1988: 35.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 3.2 SPG, 1.6 BPG, Defensive Player Of The Year)

-I'm of the belief that this is the greatest individual regular season in NBA history. Does it have the numbers and sheer dominance of Wilt being a foot taller than most players and averaging 50 points and 25 rebounds? No. Is it Oscar Robertson's triple double season? No. It's better than both of them. Why? How? Because Jordan existed in a time where the competition was the highest and still murdered his competition night in and night out. In the Magic, Bird, and Pistons era, Jordan put up 35 points a game, won another scoring title, and finally got the Bulls to a 50 game winning season. In addition to this, he would also be named Defensive Player Of The Year, a rare feat for someone to win the scoring title, steals leader, All Star Game MVP, DPOY, and the MVP in the same year. Jordan was unstoppable.

*Hakeem Olajuwon
(1993-1994: 27.8 PPG, 11.9 RPG, Defensive Player Of The Year)

-You could easily input Kevin Garnett and his season into one of these spots, but for me, what Hakeem did was amazing. He led the Rockets to the playoffs and an eventual NBA Championship, but he also put up a double double on the season, and defensively shut down the competition. He was blocking shots, pulling down boards, and dream shaking his way to 30 point games regularly. Hakeem was definitely the Dream this season.

*Larry Bird
(1984-1985: 28.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG)

-Let's talk about the best all around season in Larry Bird's career. Bird has some of the most consistent seasons I've ever witnessed, but this was the apex of his three straight MVP seasons. This was the year that Bird dropped 60 points on the Hawks, the year he had his career high in points per game, blocks per game, and led the Celtics to an amazing 63 win season. This is my personal favorite Larry Bird season and his overall best, that's why it is his best MVP year.

*LeBron James
(2012-2013: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG)

-Bron should have been the unanimous MVP, but one writer just couldn't crown him as the winner. Regardless, his season was honestly out of this world,  as he would put up a streak of six games with 30 points on 60 percent shooting, as well as leading the Heat to a ridiculous 27 game winning streak, this was the true becoming of LeBron as the absolute best in the game and pulling away from just about everyone else in sight or close range. This is probably his best season overall, even if the numbers don't say so.

*Stephen Curry
(2015-2016: 30.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 402 three pointers)

-All 3-1 jokes aside, this is clearly one of the greatest individual seasons we've witnessed from a player, and it's not debatable. Steph led his team to an amazing 73-9 record, making history for the greatest record in NBA history. Though it didn't come with a championship like it should, the individual accolades if Steph were absolutely amazing. He joined the 50-40-90 club, hit a record 400 three pointers (how was this possible), won the scoring title and led the NBA in steals. He had an amazing all around season that will be hard to top going forward, but this season is etched in history and definitely one of the best MVP seasons we've witnessed.


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