2018-19 NBA MVP Model: Is Kemba Walker a Legit Candidate?

2018-19 NBA MVP Model: Is Kemba Walker a Legit Candidate? article feature image

Photo credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kemba Walker

  • Kemba Walker has put up more than 100 points over his past two games. As a result, his odds to win the NBA MVP have moved from 60-1 to 40-1.
  • Using my NBA MVP model, let's look at where Walker currently stands and whether he has a realistic shot of being in the running at the end of the year.

Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker is a walking flame right now. He’s scored more than 100 points over the past two games, following up his 60-point explosion on Saturday versus the 76ers with a 43-point outing last night against the Celtics.

He’s crushing and do so against awesome teams. As a result, his MVP odds have jumped from 60-1 last week to 40-1 today.

Kemba is a hot topic right now, and our own World Wide Wob posted an awesome article yesterday about the Hornets’ precarious position as an organization and whether they should trade their superstar.

In this piece, I wanted to take a look at my MVP model to see where Walker stands currently and whether he can legitimately get in the running.

For an explanation on the model, see my first post here. I wrote an update last week, in which Kevin Durant took the lead with Stephen Curry on the shelf. Since then, Durant has dropped amid the Warriors’ poor play, and a certain King sits in first now. But where is Kemba? Let’s take a look.

2018-19 NBA MVP Ratings


Kemba currently sits eighth behind LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

He’s right there in both advanced metrics and raw stats but is hurt by playing only 15 games so far — Embiid and Durant are at 19 and 18, respectively, for reference — and the fact that the Hornets are just .500 at 8-8.

FiveThirtyEight has them with a projected record of 40-42 this season and a 67% chance of making the playoffs.

As such, Kemba isn’t realistically an MVP candidate this season based on what voters look for, which is largely a good player on one of the league’s best teams.

Russell Westbrook’s recent MVP win was one of the only historical outliers in this regard, but the Thunder PG famously averaged a triple-double that season. Kemba likely won’t get the same bump despite his awesome stats.

The most interesting player at the moment is Curry, who dominated the model before going down with an injury a couple weeks ago. He’s since fallen, as he’s played just 12 games and thus doesn’t have the raw stats to compete with guys like LeBron and Embiid at the moment.

Still, his advanced metrics are perhaps the best in the NBA this season, and he could get the benefit of a positive narrative if he returns soon and the Warriors take off again.

They’ve dropped two straight and have looked awful in the process. Curry’s odds have dropped from +700 last week to +750 now, and that might be the best price you’ll get for the rest of the year.

If you want to bet on Curry, do it before he returns.

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