In this article, I will be going over the NBA MVP winners by draft position.
The nba mvp voting by year is a list of the NBA’s MVP winners by draft position. The list includes 38 top players who were drafted in the first round, and their names are listed alphabetically.
The truth is that the higher your draft pick, the greater your chances of bringing in a superstar. Is it always the case that a top-three draft selection will result in a Hall of Famer? No, but if you look back in time, it definitely helps. Over the years, 18 players selected in the first three rounds have gone on to earn MVP, with another ten selected in the top-15.
Being a lottery selection has proven that you have a better probability of being named the best player in the league, although there are a few exceptions. Two players were selected between Nos. 15 and 30, with two more selected in the second round. Third-round selections were common in the past, as were territorial picks, which resulted in three more MVPs.
In certain instances, being towards the top of the draft board is a necessity when your club is rebuilding. When it comes to the MVP, this is your greatest bet for landing one on your squad. The MVPs are listed below by draft order.
38 MVP Awards – Top 3 Pick
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Bill Russell (5), Michael Jordan (5), LeBron James (4), Magic Johnson (3), Bob Pettit (2), Tim Duncan (2), Bob Cousy, Wes Unseld (1), Bob McAdoo (1), Bill Walton (1), Hakeem Olajuwon (1), David Robinson (1), Shaquille O’Neal (1), Allen Iverson (1), Kevin Durant (1), James Harden (1), Allen Ivers (1)
Bob Pettit, the former St. Louis Hawks great who led the team to their last NBA title, was the first to accomplish it. Pettit was one of just 11 players to ever win an MVP award after being drafted first overall. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, and Derrick Rose are among the other players.
You may break down the abundance of skill that makes up this list into categories when assessing it. Kareem, Russell, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Allen Iverson, and James Harden are among the best scorers in the NBA. These guys were immediate offense, and several even went above and above on the offensive glass. It’s difficult enough to speak about Jordan, Iverson, and Durant, but talking about all six is much more difficult.
The large guys on this list were exceptional. Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and David Robinson were among them. Robinson and Duncan were partners in crime when the San Antonio Spurs won two championships in five years, so their combination is almost unfair to certain teams. Olajuwon is the greatest candidate for the league’s finest two-way player, but Shaq is by far the most talented offensive player on this list. Wes Unseld may be the greatest overall defensive player on this list, and he may also be the best overall rebounder.
4-14 Picks – 14 MVP Awards
Larry Bird (3), Karl Malone (2), Steph Curry (2), Dave Cowens (1), Julius Erving (1), Charles Barkley (1), Kevin Garnett (1), Dirk Nowitzki (1), Kobe Bryant (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell Westbrook (1), Russell West (1)
When you get to the following ten selections, the list becomes shorter, but don’t be fooled: there are some exceptional players here as well. Let’s start with Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry, two of the most well-known modern-day athletes. For starters, Bryant spent the better part of a decade and a half as a top-5 player in the NBA. Keep in mind that Bryant was the Hornets’ No. 13 overall selection, which they traded to the Lakers. Without Bryant, the Lakers may not have been able to repeat their three-peat from 2000 to 2002.
Curry, on the other hand, is no stranger to being ignored. Curry felt underappreciated in college, which prompted him to enroll at Davidson. Curry fell to No. 7 in the draft after guiding Davidson to the Elite 8. He is currently the best shooter of all time and the league’s only unanimous MVP. Larry Bird rounds out the guards, but he has the distinction of being the first player in NBA history to win the award three years in a row.
Karl Malone is the greatest overall scorer among the big guys on this list. After all, he is the all-time leader in points. Given that he was the ABA’s three-time top scorer before to the merger, Julius Erving should be a strong contender. Charles Barkley, who averaged 28.3 points per game, was an underappreciated scorer in the NBA.
Kevin Garnett and Dave Cowens were more than just scorers for their respective teams. Both players earned All-NBA and All-Defensive selections. Garnett is the ultimate winner after being named to the All-Defensive First Team nine times and being named Defensive Player of the Year once.
Russell Westbrook is one of the most dynamic athletes in the world. He became the first MVP to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson in 1961, and he has done it four times in his career. In today’s NBA, Westbrook is still the league’s most explosive player.
Nos. 15-30 – Four MVP Awards
Giannis Antetkounmpo (2), Steve Nash (2) (2)
This is when the choices begin to diverge a little bit. What’s noteworthy is that the two players selected in the mid to late first round have each won the MVP award twice throughout their careers. Both earned the award in consecutive seasons. Steve Nash, who won the MVP twice with the Phoenix Suns, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who won it twice with the Milwaukee Bucks, are also multi-MVP winners.
Starting with Nash, the Suns’ point guard led the league’s greatest offense throughout his prime. This includes having the most assists in the league. He was a member of the 50-40-90 club during his second MVP season. Nash, a former No. 15 overall selection, barely makes it into this group.
Do you want another case of déjà vu? Nash and Giannis have both won the award twice, in back-to-back years, and Giannis is also the No. 15 overall pick? Despite the fact that Giannis is a totally different player, the strange coincidence has to be appreciated. Giannis had his finest season in 2023, winning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. While his achievements are remarkable, he would be the first to admit that he was more pleased with his Finals MVP award this season, something Nash has never come close to receiving.
2 MVP Awards in the Second Round
Nikola Jokic (1), Willis Reed (1) (1)
Reed had the opportunity to enjoy the American dream in 1970. After helping the New York Knicks win a championship, he was awarded MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Finals MVP. Despite the fact that it has been more than 50 years since that time, Reed remains one of the most divisive characters in Knicks history. Reed was also named to the All-Defensive team that year.
Jokic, on the other hand, is establishing himself as the best center in NBA history. Jokic has yet to lead the Denver Nuggets to the NBA Finals, but at seven feet tall, he is a walking triple-double. This season, Jokic became just the second second-round selection in NBA history to earn the MVP award. Allow it to sink in for a few moments. A second-round selection hasn’t won MVP in 51 years.
Jokic isn’t your run-of-the-mill second-round selection. Last season, he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. He’s the greatest big guy we’ve ever seen when it comes to passing. Jokic is just 26 years old, so there’s still time for him to add to his MVP tally. The issue is, how many more will there be?
8 MVP Awards (Other)
Oscar Robertson (3), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Moses Malone (3), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Wilt Chamberlain (1)
Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson were both thought to be territorial selections. A territorial selection was a kind of special draft choice utilized by the Basketball Association of America in 1949, and then maintained by the National Basketball Association in 1950 when the league changed its name. NBA clubs took turns choosing collegiate basketball players in the draft. The league was attempting to increase popularity at the time, and this enabled clubs choose famous athletes in their region to join their squad.
The Warriors were still headquartered in Philadelphia at the time, but they were allowed to pick Chamberlain out of Kansas. Chamberlain is the greatest rebounder of all time, and he holds many NBA rebounding records that are unlikely to be broken. Chamberlain used to average 27.2 rebounds and 38.4 points per game. Back then, he was on another level.
Robertson was a territorial draft choice when the Kings were known as the Cincinnati Royals, as previously stated. Robertson attended the University of Cincinnati, making him an excellent choice. For the Royals in 1961, Robertson averaged a triple-double throughout the regular season. Until Russell Westbrook in 2017, he was the only player to ever achieve that accomplishment.
Moses Malone was selected in the third round of the ABA draft, when he was selected by the Utah Stars. When the ABA and NBA combined, Malone rose to prominence as the league’s face. With the 76ers in 1983, Malone earned MVP and Finals MVP. Malone, like Chamberlain, was one of the greatest rebounders of his generation, leading the league in rebounding six times.
The nba mvp by position is a list of the winners of the NBA MVP award since its inception in 1956.