Harden or Westbrook will have company: 10 best NBA seasons that didn’t win MVP – CBSSports.com

It’s easy to forget because the NBA regular season ended, well, about two-and-a-half months ago, but
Russell Westbrook
and
James Harden
both put up absolutely historic numbers in 2016-17.

Westbrook set the NBA record for most triple-doubles (42) became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double for an entire season. Harden, on the other hand, became the first player to both score and assist on 2,000 points in a single season, and accounted for the most points in league history with 4,554.

Their final regular season averages:

  • Westbrook: 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, 10.7 rebounds, 13.1 win shares 
  • Harden: 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 15.0 win shares

And the thing is, one of those guys is NOT going to win the MVP. It got us thinking, what other remarkable seasons missed out on the league’s top individual award?

The most difficult part about deciding who gets the MVP is that there’s no clear definition. For this list, in addition to traditional statistics, we factored in win shares — an estimate of the amount of wins added by a player to his team in any given season.

With that in mind, here is a list of the best statistical seasons in NBA history not to win the MVP award.

10. Tracy McGrady, 2002-03
Orlando Magic

Stats: 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 16.1 win shares

Winner: Tim Duncan (23.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, 16.5 win shares)

People tend to forget what a prolific scorer T-Mac was when healthy. McGrady played 75 games in 2002-03 and led the league with a career-best 32.1 points per game. McGrady joined Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as the only players in league history to average at least 32 points, five rebounds and five assists per game for a full season (
Kevin Durant
joined them in 2013-14).

Did they get it right? Yes. It was close, but with the win shares that close you have to go with the guy who does it on both ends of the court. Duncan’s 7.2 defensive win shares trumped McGrady’s 2.9 by a wide margin. More importantly the Magic finished with a paltry 42-40 record, while Duncan’s
San Antonio Spurs
won 60 games.

9. Kevin Durant, 2012-13
Oklahoma City Thunder

Stats: 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 18.9 win shares

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