It takes a truly special player to claim the NBA MVP award. Only the best of the best like LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo have had the honour of winning the prestigious prize.
But over the years, there have still been a handful of unexpected winners who came up with unbelievable seasons that nobody saw coming.
Let’s take a look back at those surprise packages who caught many SBOBET NBA fans off-guard with their memorable MVP campaigns.
Allen Iverson (2000-01)
From the moment he stepped foot in the NBA, Iverson seemed destined for stardom. Despite being barely 6-feet tall, he was a brilliant scorer who led the league in points in just his third season (26.8 points per game).
But the big question with Iverson was whether his style of play — which saw him dominate the ball most of the game — would translate into wins for his team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
“The Answer” answered that question emphatically in the 2000-01 season as he averaged 31 points and led the Sixers to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with 56 wins. As a result, he won the MVP award to become the shortest winner in history.
Iverson didn’t stop there, though. He then carried the Sixers all the way to the NBA Finals, where they handed the Lakers their only defeat in a historic playoff run.
LA would go on to win the title, but Iverson showed the entire world that despite his small stature, he was a more than worthy MVP winner.
Steve Nash (2004-05)
Nash was a late bloomer. After struggling in his first four years in the league, he finally became an All-Star-calibre point guard at age 26 with Dallas.
But even after four good years with the Mavericks, no one would’ve expected Nash to blossom into a legitimate MVP-level player when he left Dallas for the Phoenix Suns in 2004 at age 30.
Nash was at the right place at the right time as he was the perfect point guard to run Mike D’Antoni’s revolutionary “Seven Seconds or Less” offence.
Thanks in large part to Nash’s leadership, the Suns had one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in NBA history, going from 29 wins to 62 as they claimed the No. 1 seed in the West.
Nash’s numbers (15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds per game) may have looked unremarkable, but it was clear how much of an impact he made on the team. So as improbable as it may have seemed at the start of his career, Nash was an NBA MVP.
Derrick Rose (2010-11)
Derrick Rose came to Chicago in 2008 with a mountain of expectation on his shoulders. He was the local kid who was coming home to bring the Bulls back to the glory days after a decade of misery post-Michael Jordan.
Rose not only lived up to the hype, but he exceeded it. He broke out during his third season as he averaged 24 points and 7 assists to lead the Bulls to 62 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East.
Rose became the youngest player ever to win MVP and the only one other than LeBron James to win the award over a six-year stretch.
Unfortunately, knee injuries would wind up derailing Rose’s promising career. While he was making some NBA 2020 highlights with the Pistons, he will probably go down in history as the first NBA MVP not to make it to the Hall of Fame.
But still, no one can ever take away his magical 2010-11 season or his MVP award, which he richly deserved.
Stephen Curry (2014-15)
Much like Steve Nash, Curry had a belated start to NBA stardom. While he showed much promise during his early years, nagging ankle injuries threatened to derail Curry’s career before it got a chance to take off.
But he was able to overcome those early setbacks, and like Nash, he found himself in the perfect situation to become his best self when Steve Kerr took over the Warriors in 2014.
Kerr’s new system unleashed the entire Warriors team. Golden State won a league-best 67 games and stormed all the way to one of the most improbable NBA championships in history.
But it wouldn’t have been possible without Curry’s emergence as a true MVP-calibre star. His amazing shooting ability was unlike anything anyone has ever seen in the league and is a crucial part of the Warriors’ offence. That’s why the team’s NBA 2020 odds fell off a cliff when he got injured early in the 2019-20 season.
Curry would go on to become the first unanimous MVP in NBA history just a year later, but his rise and victory in 2014-15 was still by far the more surprising feat.
Russell Westbrook (2016-17)
The 2016-17 season will forever be remembered as the Russell Westbrook revenge tour.
After Kevin Durant shocked the NBA world by leaving Westbrook and Oklahoma City to go to the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder became Westbrook’s team, in every sense of the word.
With no more KD, Westbrook did just about everything on that team as he became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season (31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists) since Oscar Robertson in 1962. He would go on to average a triple-double over the next two seasons as well.
Westbrook’s statistical resume in 2017 was so overwhelming that despite the fact that the Thunder won just 47 games — which is below the historical benchmark for past MVP winners — he still won the award.
Westbrook is clearly no longer the same triple-double force today, he remains one of the best point guards in the league.
Whether or not Westbrook actually deserved to win the award in 2017 is up for debate. But what’s not up for dispute is that his victory will go down as one of the more unexpected MVP wins in history.
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