DAR Sports: 7 Great NBA Seasons That Didn't Win MVP

By @TrueGodImmortal

Often times in the NBA, there are excellent seasons that go without the proper love and credit they deserve. Usually, the best seasons either win DPOY or MVP and are touted as being legendary. Today, we decide to take a look at some of the seasons that should have either won MVP or perhaps deserved just a little more credit than it got at the time. It was hard to narrow this down to 7 choices, as one could argue Hakeem, David Robinson, and a few others have seasons that were worthy of the accolades as well, but they just miss this list. One player makes the list twice and he could have had an entire list dedicated to himself for seasons that didn't win MVP, but were great nonethless. Which seasons make this list? Let's take a look.

*Kobe Bryant
(2005-2006, 35.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, Scoring Title, All-NBA, All Defensive)

-In one of the greatest seasons I've ever witnessed, Kobe carried the extremely mediocre Lakers team on his back and pushed them to the playoffs with one of the worst roster I've ever seen. For all the talk of what some players do today in leading their team to the playoffs, Kobe pulled off an amazing feat and proved he was a take no prisoners type of leader. He would battle on the court with full power, racking up some of the greatest performances ever in his 81 point game, going on huge scoring runs throughout the season while playing engaged defense. One would wonder how much better this season would be remembered had Kobe pushed the team beyond the Suns, and maybe to the Western Conference Finals. Regardless, this season made me respect Kobe even more than I already did, because his tenacity, his scoring prowess, his defense and his will to win is what got them as far as they did even though they should have been anywhere near the playoffs with that roster. I always wish Kobe and the Lakers would have won maybe three or four more games in the regular season, because if they did or at least finished with a slightly higher seed, that award would have been his for the taking. This might be the greatest season in Kobe's history, though he has had more successful years, it was the focus and precision this year that made it a travesty that he didn't win over Steve Nash.

*Dwyane Wade 
(2008-2009, 30.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 49% FG, Scoring Title)

-So, to be honest, the MVP going to LeBron James was the right call and decision. I would have possibly given the nod to Kobe Bryant if need be as well, but when you look at the team that Wade had, it was honestly a shock that he even made the playoffs at all. Coming off of an injury that sidelined him the final 21 games of the previous season and intense rehabilitation, Wade had much to prove, and he went out and did some amazing things this season. He had some legendary games, from the 40 point, 10 assist, and 5 block game to his 50 point game on 57% shooting from the field (although it came in a blowout loss) to his 31 point and career high 16 assist game over the Pistons, Wade was magnificent this year and the conversation at that moment on the three best players in the game went simply like this: Kobe, Lebron, and Wade. You could argue at times that Wade was the best of the three, at least coming off an injury and playing elite on both sides of the ball. Wade finished with better numbers than both of those players and won his first and only scoring title that year, while making Miami Heat history in the process. If the Heat would have managed to win a few more games or obtain a higher seed in the playoffs, he might have been able to take home the MVP trophy. Regardless, this is still a magnificent season that showcased why Wade is a top 3 shooting guard of all time.

*Michael Jordan 
(1992-1993, 32.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.5 APG, 2.8 SPG, 50% FG, 35% 3PT, All-NBA, All-Defensive, NBA Champion)

-So, many people do not rank this season as highly as they should and that is probably because Jordan had set such a precedent in terms of excellence that it was easy to ignore. The Bulls had won 60 games in back to back seasons to go with back to back championships, so the bar was raised so high that no matter what Jordan did, he might not actually get the MVP anyways. He could lead the Bulls to 69 wins and still not be given the MVP (1997... another year he was robbed of the MVP), or lead them to a 57 win season, the second seed in the East, and put them in prime position for another title, and people would still NOT give him the trophy for the third year in a row. Jordan won his 7th straight scoring title, taking his per game scoring average up 2 points from the previous season, pulled down more rebounds, averaged more steals (and led the league in steals again for the third time in his career), and shot his best three point percentage since before he was a champion. Simply put, he was just as magnificent this season as he was in any of his MVP seasons minus the 1987-1988 season, and it is a travesty that Jordan didn't get the victory. While Charles Barkley was well deserved for putting the Suns atop the West, Jordan's excellence was so brilliant that there is no doubt in my mind he had a claim to that award the same as Charles did.

*Tracy McGrady
(2002-2003, 32.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, All-NBA, Scoring Champion)

-So, the Spurs were easily the best team this season and Tim Duncan definitely deserved the MVP award for his contributions to the team success. However, Tracy McGrady was right there with him as a premier star and the leader of an Orlando Magic team that seemed to have so much promise. Horace Grant would go down with injury and Grant Hill would suffer another injury, allowing for Tracy to step up and take over the team and leadership role. This was his best overall season, and although the Magic only won 42 games, considering the fact that most of T-Mac's help was gone, it was a crazy feat to even make the playoffs. If the Magic had won perhaps another 6-8 games this year and gained a higher seed in the playoffs, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have given T-Mac the trophy. Regardless, his season was one of my all time favorites and a true showing of tenacity and will, much like the Kobe in 06 season, the Jordan in 89 season, and even the Iverson in 2001 season that did win MVP. The lack of a MVP win takes nothing away from this amazing season however and it should definitely be noted as a legendary year.

*Kevin Durant
(2012-2013, 28.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 50/40/90, All-NBA)

-I actually would have voted for KD over anyone else back then in a way, if only for the fact that KD was younger and still growing as a player, which made this season so special. Sure, Bron had the bigger number of wins, but he also had the clearly better team. Sure, the Thunder lost James Harden, a 6th man candidate, but they would manage to reach 60 wins and the top seed in the much tougher Western Conference, something that still stands as one of the best achievements in young KD's career. He was reaching his prime as a player, and his defense was making small strides at getting better. The West had tough contenders every year and while I fully agree with Bron as MVP, I do believe that you could make a case for KD as the second runner up over Melo, who got the only other first place vote besides Bron. KD was at his most efficient, pulling off an astonishing 50/40/90 in addition to being top 2 in scoring in the league. 60 wins, 28/8/5 on 50/40/90 would be MVP worthy in any season, so KD definitely deserves credit. He would get that credit in full the next season with his amazing MVP year that had many people thinking he would surpass LeBron as the best player in the game.

*James Harden 
(2016-2017, 29.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 11.2 APG, All-NBA)

-It pains me to write this because I am far from a fan of Harden. His game is not as impressive to me as it is to many others, and honestly, I find him to be outside of the top 5 players in the game today. However, if I had to be honest, his 2016-2017 season was his best overall season. There was no Chris Paul to be the team leader, and the Rockets didn't have a ton of amazing pieces (though they had a really good team) like they did last season. With that being the case, it was no surprise that Harden was a finalist for MVP, though I still feel like Kawhi Leonard has a claim to that award as well. Harden led the league in assists, was top 3 in scoring and led the Rockets to a 55 win season and the third seed. While his efficiency is often times an issue, the fact remains that he had a superb season and despite the playoff mishaps, his regular season momentum was almost untouched this year.

*Michael Jordan
(1988-1989, 32.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 8.0 APG, 2.9 SPG, 54% FG, All-NBA, All-Defensive, Scoring Title)

-So, Jordan has a number of seasons that could have and should have won MVP. Perhaps this one isn't the greatest example due to the team win totals, but there was no way you could deny what Jordan did this year. When called upon to be the point guard for his team, Jordan stepped into the role with relative ease and racked up the stats along with a number of wins. He was flirting with averaging a triple double most of the season while playing with an inexperienced and young Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, while also playing the elite defense that won him Defensive Player Of The Year the previous season. For someone of Jordan's caliber, a season like this is not his overall best, but by the metric system and advanced stats, it actually stands as his best. Sure, he was slightly more turnover prone, but that comes with the territory of having the ball in your hands more. Jordan averaged career highs in assists and rebounds, still put up 33 points a game, and played elite defense. There aren't too many seasons better than this one in NBA history and the fact that this one didn't win MVP is crazy, but also a sign of just how tough the competition was in the era. Jordan could have another two seasons on this list, which goes to show you just how great he is and why no one could compare.



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