Over the course of history, just a handful of players have been able to be so influential in both ends of the hardwood, that they’re granted the honor to win not just the MVP award, but also the Defensive Player of the Year.
As a matter of fact, only Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett have ever been able of doing so, with Jordan and Olajuwon even winning both awards the very same season.
Even though that’s a very unlikely thing to happen again, we believe there are some players that could wind up winning both awards, even if it’s not in the same season. Today, we’re going to let you know about them.
10. Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo’s career got off to a bit of a rough start, but ever since being traded to the Indiana Pacers, the young shooting guard has definitely put his name in the map as one of the best two way young players in the league.
Oladipo is fast, strong, athletic and a good playmaker, let alone the fact that he won the Most Improved Player award while also leading the league in steals this season. So, if he builds on last year’s success, he could definitely pull it off.
9. John Wall
John Wall doesn’t get enough credit for his defense, and he’s never been in the Defensive Player of the Year shortlist, but he’s one of the craftiest backcourt stoppers due to his quick hands and ability to read passing lanes.
Also, he was top 7 in the MVP shortlist back in 2017, and he has the tools to average 25-10 with ease and leads the league in dimes throughout a season. If he’s able to lead the Wizards to a top 2 seed in the East, he could pull it off.
8. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has already won an MVP and a scoring title, and even though people don’t give him enough credit for his defense, he’s shown to be great against the top-notch opposition when he’s locked in.
Westbrook loves to prove he’s better than everybody else, so if he sets his mind into becoming the best defender in the league, he could definitely achieve it, even though it would be hard for him to stat pad at that end of the floor.
7. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is something of the likes of a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league, a great backcourt and wing stopper who was top 12 and 11 in 2018 and 2016 in the DPOY race.
Also, he’s quietly and quickly surging as one of the league’s best scorers despite not being much of a shooter, and he was among the top 10 MVP candidates during his first year with the Timberwolves.
6. LeBron James
The fact that LeBron James has never won a DPOY award is kind of surprising, especially considering all the narratives surrounding him as the greatest player in the history of basketball (a narrative I strongly disagree with).
Even so, he’s already won 4 MVP awards and has little left to prove in his career. Also’, he was top 5 in the DPOY race in 2017 and the frontrunner to take it home in 2012, so he can still pull it off.
5. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has already won an MVP and two Finals MVP. He’s a walking hall of famer and one of the craftiest, most versatile scorers ever, so he’s always going to be in the MVP shortlist for sure.
On the other hand, he’s grown to become one of the league’s best rim protectors and wing stoppers, even being able to check guys of the likes of James Harden. Also, he’s coming off being top 10 in last season’s DPOY race.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo just keeps getting better and better as years go by, and that’s something that makes him incredibly scary, so it’s just a matter of time before he wins his first MVP after finishing as a top 6 player in 2018 and top 7 the year before.
Even though he’s never been in the DPOY shortlist, he’s got the skills, the mindset, and the wingspan to become one of the league’s most dominant defenders, being able to guard 1 through 5 with ease.
3. Joel Embiid
It didn’t take long for Joel Embiid to prove that he was definitely worth the wait for the Philadelphia 76ers, quickly emerging as one of the league’s most gifted two-way big man in over a decade.
With the Sixers surging as a dynasty in the Eastern Conference, he’s going to have a lot of chances to win an MVP after finishing top 12 in 2018. Also, he was last year’s frontrunner to take home the DPOY.
2. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has already made it clear that he thinks that he’s on the same level of players of the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James because of the impact he’s able to make in both ends of the floor.
Davis has been posting MVP caliber seasons for years now and has been top 3 in 2018 while finishing in the top 5 in 2015 while also being top 3 in the DPOY race in 2018 and top 4 in 2015, so he’s a lock to eventually win both silverware.
1. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is -when healthy- the best two-way player in the league and it’s not even close. He’s already won a couple of Defensive Player of the Year awards and a Finals MVP and he’s just entering his prime.
Also, Leonard is one of this year’s frontrunners to win the MVP after being top 3 in 2017 and top 2 in 2016, but what makes him more impressive, is the fact that he’s the most likely candidate to win both awards the very same season.