Since 2014, 5 players have won the NBA MVP award, and 2 of those have won it twice. From the jaw dropping unanimous MVP year of sharpshooter Stephen Curry, to the all-around show that Giannis Antetokounmpo has provided for Bucks fans for the last two years, the MVPs have always been special. However, that doesn’t mean they are unprecedented. Here are the 5 players from the history of the NBA who most resemble the last 5 MVPs in their ability, play style, and stats.
Disclaimer: All stats are from Basketball Reference
2014 MVP: Kevin Durant(Julius Erving)
In 2014, Kevin Durant won the Most Valuable Player award, preventing LeBron James from winning a third straight MVP award. The sharpshooter averaged a league high 32 points per game. He was truly one of a kind. For that reason, it’s hard to find a true historical comparison. However, Dr.J is definitely the closest. The high-flying wing player dominated the 70s and 80s with the Nets in the ABA and then with the 76ers in the NBA. Although KD definitely isn’t a perfect match with Erving, they are the most similar.
2015,2016 MVP: Stephen Curry(Jerry West)
Just like KD, Stephen Curry is one of a kind, someone who hasn’t been seen before, and who may not ever be seen again. However, one player was relatively similar. 60s Lakers legend Jerry West is probably the OG Curry. Although he didn’t play in an era with the 3-point line, West revolutionized the game at point guard. The high-scoring guard and Steph definitely have similar styles.
2017 MVP: Russell Westbrook(Oscar Robertson)
It had to be the Big O. The only other player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a season, although Westbrook outshone him by doing it 3 years in a row. However, the Cincinnati Royals star is definitely the closest player in play style to Westbrook that there has ever been. Able to shoot, pass, and rebound as well as any player on the court, Robertson definitely was the OG prototype of Westbrook’s game, and the most similar player to him throughout NBA history.
2018 MVP: James Harden(Michael Jordan)
Although James Harden definitely isn’t at the same level MJ ever was, Harden’s playstyle is reminiscent of His Airness. Both of them are high-flying guards, with some of the best post games seen in their position, and have both been accused of hogging the ball. Additionally, both of them went to the line often, and have been accused of going down easily. At the end of the day though, they are both two of the best guards of all time.
2019, 2020 MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo(Kevin Garnett)
Giannis is one of a kind. There has never been a player like him, which makes this selection tough. However, one guy who is pretty similar is Kevin Garnett. Garnett was a pretty similar player, and averaged similar numbers. Even though he couldn’t take his first team to the levels Giannis has taken the Bucks to, Garnett still did the best he could with a bad team. Just like Giannis, Garnett can rebound and score with ease. His bulky frame also made him a very imposing presence. Combine that with the speed he and the Greek Freak share, and you had a very dangerous player.