- Chris Paul has moved into the NBA MVP race after some clutch performances
- The Suns point guard is receiving considerable MVP buzz and has shortened to odds of +10000
- Is there value backing CP3 to win the award? See updated odds and analysis below
This NBA MVP race continues to meander. Chris Paul is the latest star to receive a boost, which has resulted in a shortening of his NBA MVP odds to +10000. The Point God is now a shorter price than Julius Randle, and could close in on LeBron James, Damian Lillard and James Harden if this trend continues.
The Phoenix Suns ended the second-longest postseason drought in the NBA on Wednesday. Chris Paul, as has been the case throughout his career, has elevated the Suns from mediocrity to an upper-echelon playoff team. Paul’s arrival isn’t the only change, of course, but his impact as a leader, playmaker, and clutch scorer is impossible to deny.
Nikola Jokic remains the overwhelming MVP favorite. Several players stand in Paul’s way to even make it onto ballots – is there any value backing him at +10000?
2021 NBA MVP Odds
|Player||Odds to Win NBA MVP|
Odds as of Apr 29 at DraftKings
Phoenix Make a Leap
Phoenix was 34-39 last season. Even with an 8-0 run in the bubble, they couldn’t break into the play-in. This franchise hasn’t put up a season over .500 since 2013-14. The trade to acquire Paul was a win-now move, and he has delivered on that promise. The roster wasn’t overhauled around Paul.
THIS is the Chris Paul Effect.
Before CP — .220 W%
After CP — .463 W%
Before CP — .390
After CP — .606
Before CP — .671
After CP — .793
Before CP — .598
After CP — .611
Before CP — .466
After CP — .710 pic.twitter.com/b4xaZES9v1
— Esfandiar | Darth Es (@JustEsBaraheni) April 29, 2021
Landing the All-Star guard was the move. This was what Phoenix were doing to make them a postseason team, and even deep into his thirties, Paul continues to impact winning in a way few other players do.
The progression of Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton has helped. Devin Booker is a much better all-round player. It could be argued, though, that Paul has been a driving force in the development of these young talents. Paul holds people accountable at both ends, and he makes players around him better. This was the case in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Houston and Oklahoma City. The trend has continued in Phoenix.
Mikal Bridges has developed into an impressive player — if Julius Randle didn't exist, Bridges would be in the conversation for Most Improved Player.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 27, 2021
The Suns have built a good roster. Having veterans around like Dario Saric and Jae Crowder has helped.
It’s Paul who has taken this team to a top two seed (and possibly higher), however, and there’s a compelling case that only a handful of other players in the league could lead this roster to a 44-18 record.
Point God Takes Over
No team has won more games against opponents over .500 than the Suns. Paul’s clinic against the New York Knicks a few nights ago was another example of his mastery of the fourth quarter. He made the Thunder an elite clutch team last season, and he has taken over countless close games in 2021. Booker is shooting 31.6% in crunch time, while Paul is above 47% – there’s no question Paul is the go-to guy when it matters most.
Suns fans started MVP chants for CP3 tonight 👏 pic.twitter.com/LusT70x6py
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 29, 2021
Only 10 players in the league are scoring more clutch points on a better efficiency. Paul has been better in such situations than Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum. This young Suns team needed a veteran who could dominate when the pressure is highest, and Paul has been that man.
Phoenix is one of three teams sitting in the top 10 in defensive and offensive rating. Taking them to such two-way brilliance is a remarkable feat given that they were 12th in offense and 17th in defense last season.
Comparing last year’s Suns to this year’s team is where the MVP case for Paul gets cloudy. His impact is obviously enormous, and he ranks 17th in ESPN’s real plus-minus, but there’s also the development of Bridges as a wing stopper. Crowder has helped. Ayton has become an elite interior defender. Paul’s presence has helped all of those players, but the most impressive thing about the Suns is how well they know and function in their roles.
Knicks are 34-28. Their 9-game win streak is done, despite once holding a 15-point lead. Chris Paul puts knife in late.
Devin Booker: 33 pts
Derrick Rose: 22 pts/6 ast/
Julius Randle: 18 pts/6-of-17 FGs
Chris Paul: 20 pts/6 ast
RJ Barrett: 17 pts/7-of-18 FGs pic.twitter.com/VZr3he1NGP
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) April 27, 2021
Paul is an all-time great and a lock for the Hall of Fame. He helps teams win games. When it comes to MVP, though, the numbers are just not there. The former Rocket ranks 51st in scoring, fifth in assists and 75th in three-point percentage. While deserving of All-NBA honors for a 10th time, and in position to lead the Suns on a deep run, there’s good reason for Paul to be no more than a longshot for MVP.
No Value at +10000
Paul’s chances of earning MVP votes have increased. He might crack the top three if the Suns snatch the one seed. There’s admiration for the 35-year-old among voters, but surpassing Jokic is too great an ask.
Even at +10000, backing Paul to win the award is a difficult argument to make. The presence of Booker, another All-NBA talent, and Paul’s scoring numbers will deter some.
Nikola Jokic tonight:
He is the first Nuggets player with a 30/5/5/3/3 game since Alex English in 1984. pic.twitter.com/gWK8bA8704
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 29, 2021
It still seems like a long price for a player putting in a season of this quality, but so many players are playing at a high level right now. For his all his talismanic leadership and clutch mid-range shots, the 16/5/9 line is underwhelming compared to the exploits of Jokic, Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and others.
Paul has fought against Father Time. He has taken the Suns to heights few predicted. This is a special season for one of the all-time great point guards, but it’s impossible to see a path to him winning MVP. While they’re lengthy odds, it’s not enough to make it a value bet with so many players between Paul and the award. It would be a surprise to see him make the top three as it stands.