Top 5 individual seasons by players which deserved an NBA MVP award

Kobe Bryant in 2006
Kobe Bryant in 2006
Kunal Sethi

The NBA has had a long list of MVP snubs in its history. The system of letting sportswriters and journalists vote on an individual player's season has often been a hot topic of debate. These people don't represent the league or any franchise but get a vote in deciding prestigious awards which dictate an athlete's legacy.

The people who vote usually have an agenda or bias and that has been reflected in the voting system several times. Players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan could have won way more awards than they have if not for voter fatigue or personal biases.

Several NBA MVP snubs have been well-documented over time. Michael Jordan had a case to win the award on each of the three occasions that Magic Johnson won it. LeBron James has been snubbed way too many times, while many believe Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade not winning any MVP awards is ridiculous.

Let's take a look at five such individual seasons by NBA players that were deserving of the NBA MVP award, not ranked in any order.

#1 Wilt Chamberlain - 1961-62 NBA season

Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain

There has been just one player in the history of the NBA to average over 50 points per game in a season and he wasn't rewarded the NBA MVP award.

Wilt Chamberlain's snub of the NBA MVP was by far the most egregious disregard for any player's greatness. Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game that season and led the league in rebounds with a whopping 25.7 boards per game. He also sat atop the scoring charts averaging an unimaginable 50.4 points per game and did so in a league-high 48.5 minutes per game.

Bill Russell, the player who won the NBA MVP that season, averaged 18.9 points, and 23.6 rebounds per game in comparison. He also had significantly less win shares that season with 15.5 compared to Chamberlain's 23.1.

The difference in each statistic is staggering. Moreover, if the argument is that Russell's Celtics won more games that season (60-20) compared to Chamberlain's Warriors (49-31), the reality is that the Celtics had nearly five to six All-Stars and future Hall of Famers on the team. Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 NBA campaign will always be remembered for his unbelievable records but it was tarnished by the lack of an NBA MVP award.

#2 Chris Paul - 2007-08 NBA season

Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant in 2008
Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant in 2008

Chris Paul was arguably robbed of his only chance to win NBA league MVP in 2007-08. He was the best player on a 56-win Pelicans team and had incredible numbers to support his MVP bid.

Paul ended up 2nd in MVP votes and lost to Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers. This was a shock as, in just his third season in the NBA, CP3 earned his first-ever All-Star appearance. He averaged 21.1 points per game along while leading the league in assists (11.6) and steals (2.7).

Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, averaged 28.3 points, 5.4 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Bryant finished 3rd in box plus-minus, 4th in win shares, 7th in VORP and 8th in PER for the 2007-08 NBA season whereas Chris Paul was in the top two in each of those categories.

Kobe's Lakers were only 8.6 points per 100 possessions worse when he was off the floor. On the other hand, Paul's Pelicans were 10.9 points per 100 possessions worse with their talisman missing. Moreover, Paul had 17.8 win shares compared to Bryant's 13.8 that season.

An argument can be made that LeBron James should have won this award as well. However, Chris Paul was marginally more valuable to his team than James was to his. Paul also won more games in a tougher Western Conference than James' Cavaliers did in the Eastern Conference.

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Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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