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Way too early NBA MVP picks for 2021-22 season

We take a look at the favorites to win MVP next season after the 2021 NBA Finals wrapped up.

LA Clippers advance to the second round after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 during game seven of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoff basketball game. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The 2021 NBA Finals are over and now we can forget about the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo winning, focusing on the offseason and upcoming season. Why would we rush into things? Well, not all of us really give a damn about who was going to win it all this year. We want to get onto the offseason, free agency, NBA Draft and regular season, where we have more opportunities to throw money away on the MVP market.

A few weeks back, DraftKings Sportsbook posted MVP odds for the 2021-22 season. Since the Finals are done, we’re going to look at the lines and make some way-too-early picks for Most Valuable Player.

Luka Doncic +400 — There’s a lot to unpack with this market. We’ll start with the favorite to open things in back-to-back seasons: Doncic. He was my pick before last season and he’ll be my pick heading into 2021-22. Chances are the Mavericks improve the roster around him, which is really the only thing holding him back from winning — the team’s performance in the standings. Expect Doncic to average around 30-10-10 with 45/35/75 shooting splits.

Giannis +800 — Antetokounmpo has the highest odds of any player with more than one MVP award, tied with Steph, who is also an intriguing pick. Let’s start with the reigning champion and Finals MVP. Giannis should only get better and the only reason he was held back in the 2020-21 race was the Bucks’ struggles. A title could help fuel a better regular season for Milwaukee in its quest to repeat.

Nikola Jokic +1500 — Only in the NBA will the reigning MVP open the next season with odds like this. Jokic ranks 8th in terms of MVP odds. Really the only potential knock on Jokic’s case to repeat as MVP is Jamal Murray may miss the entire regular season. The thing is the absence of Murray doesn’t knock Jokic’s stats down much. It would come down more to how Denver performs in the standings led by Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. as the second fiddle.

Zion Williamson +4000 — Again, I could go down the list and pick reasons why most of the top 20-30 odds could win. Zion feels like a great value at 40/1. The Pelicans should be better with Willie Green at coach rather than Stan Van Gundy. Williamson missed 11 games in 20-21 but averaged 27 points on 61% from the field. He was dominant and not far off of 30 PPG. If NOLA can make the playoffs behind a stronger season from Zion, his odds should shrink during the season considerably.

Zach LaVine +8000 — LaVine is a long-shot that I like a bit (though I’m sort of biased as a Bulls fan). You can’t argue how efficient LaVine was scoring the rock this past season. He finished 7th in the NBA in scoring (27.4 PPG) and 24th in PER (21.62) despite missing games due to Covid-19. The Bulls were also awful before and after the acquisition of Nikola Vucevic. Expect coach Billy Donovan to have the team on the same page for 21-22. If that’s the case, I could see LaVine as an outside shot to lead the NBA in scoring and help Chicago get back into the postseason.

LaMelo Ball +15000 — My long, long, long shot is Melo at 150/1. We’ve already seen some videos of him this offseason and should expect improvements in Year 2. Ball managed to return late and win Rookie of the Year despite playing 51 of 72 games. His shooting splits as a rookie are encouraging 44/35/76. His stats could take a Doncic-type of jump; remember, the Hornets only started Ball 31 of 51 games. A full season of starting with around 33-35 minutes per game could really boon Melo’s numbers. Charlotte also made the play-in tournament. Getting into the playoffs would help Ball’s case a bit also.

2021-22 NBA MVP odds

Luka Doncic +400
Joel Embiid +700
Kevin Durant +700
Giannis Antetokounmpo +800
Stephen Curry +800
LeBron James +1100
Damian Lillard +1100
Nikola Jokic +1500
Devin Booker +1800
Trae Young +1800
James Harden +2500
Anthony Davis +2500
Jayson Tatum +2500
Donovan Mitchell +3000
Paul George +3500
Kyrie Irving +4000
Zion Williamson +4000
Ja Morant +4500
Russell Westbrook +5000
Jimmy Butler +5500
Bradley Beal +6000
Julius Randle +6500
Domantas Sabonis +6500
Zach LaVine +8000
Karl-Anthony Towns +9000
Bam Adebayo +10000
Chris Paul +10000
Jaylen Brown +12500
Pascal Siakam +15000
Anthony Edwards +15000
LaMelo Ball +15000

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