The MVP Award is one of the most coveted awards in the NBA. This award is usually gifted to the best player on the best team during the course of the season, although it is sometimes given to the greatest player based on impact and value to his team.
So clearly there is stiff competition for the MVP award every single year, and that leaves some all-time great players ending their careers without ever winning one. In order to give these players their just due, here are the top 10 greatest players to never have won an MVP award
Career Stats: 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Dominique Wilkins is one of the most iconic NBA superstars to ever grace the NBA court. His ability to dunk the ball and score from mid-range made him a very unstoppable offensive player. He’s also an icon for the Atlanta Hawks, and he’s the first player you think about whenever the Hawks are brought up in conversation.
His opponents will always rave about Dominique’s athleticism and scoring ability, but he was never part of the best team in the league and there was always a player better than him in the NBA at the time.
10. Clyde Drexler
Career Stats: 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Clyde Drexler was recognized as one of the most dominant shooting guards in the game alongside Michael Jordan. Drexler was the high flyer and dominant offensive player who carried his team for stretches with unbelievable scoring ability and high flying antics.
Drexler even managed to win an NBA title with the Houston Rockets in 1995 but was never able to win the MVP Award in his illustrious career.
The only reason Clyde probably didn’t win an MVP award is because of Michael Jordan, who is just simply above Drexler as a shooting guard.
9. Jason Kidd
Career Stats: 12.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Whenever you think of a perfect playmaker, you have to think of Jason Kidd. He was never a dominant scorer, although he impacted the game in every other area. He was a triple-double machine, who could rebound and pass the ball better than almost everybody in the NBA at his position. Kidd was also a defensive monster, using his strong frame to bully weaker guards.
Kidd’s ability to lead an average Nets team to the NBA Finals on two straight occasions is a testament to how Jason Kidd impacted the game. Unfortunately for him, there were always more dominant scorers playing at the time and he never won an NBA title as the man.
8. Chris Paul
Career Stats: 18.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Chris Paul was and still is a perfect point guard. There isn’t anything he can’t do. He could score and assist the ball better than anyone playing when he was in his prime and then lock up the opposing guard on the other end. He is currently very active with his hands and had tremendous leadership on both ends of the floor.
But unfortunately for Chris Paul, he never played on the best team in the NBA and also never won an NBA championship without making a single NBA Finals appearance.
7. Patrick Ewing
Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG
Patrick Ewing was so close to winning an NBA title on many occasions, but just like Clyde Drexler, he ran into Michael Jordan too many times. Ewing was a great center who dominated the post, and he had sensational numbers despite playing in an era with great big men.
The reason Ewing never took home an MVP because he had to share the throne as the best big man with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and a young version of Shaquille O’Neal.
6. John Stockton
Career Stats: 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Stockton might be the best playmaker of all time and also one of the best shooters of all time in his position. He also formed one of the best duos ever with Karl Malone, but that may have taken away from his MVP chances. Stockton and Malone were often regarded as a pair, so of course, they took away MVP votes from one another.
As great as Stockton was as a playmaker (he never missed the NBA playoffs when he was at the helm of the Utah Jazz), he also ran into Michael Jordan on multiple occasions and also failed in the NBA Finals against him.
5. Isiah Thomas
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Ask Isaiah Thomas, and he would rather have his Finals MVP trophy over his MVP trophy any day. Thomas was the ultimate competitor, and one of the most complete point guards of all time. Thomas won two straight NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, and it’s consistently mentioned among the top 5 point guards to have ever played.
But just like many others in his era, Michael Jordan was still playing at a high level and the competition at both guard spots was too high for Thomas to win the MVP Award.
4. Dwyane Wade
Career Stats: 22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Dwyane Wade is one of the top four shooting guards to have ever played the game. He doesn’t get his full credit because he played the same position as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but Wade was still a sensational player on both ends of the floor. As probably the best shot-blocking guard ever, Wade is also a great scorer and he will forever be remembered for his legendary 2006 NBA Finals performance where he averaged 34.7 PPG.
Wade is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the all-time great guards in this game. He shared the same era as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James among others, so winning an MVP escaped him in his legendary career.
3. John Havlicek
Career Stats: 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Havlicek is one of the greatest small forwards to have ever played a game, and the only reason he might not have an MVP is that he played alongside Bill Russell. Even though Bill took most of the credit, Havlicek was a great player and also the leader of the Celtics after the Bill Russell Dynasty ended.
Havlicek was simply amazing, but he just fell short of an MVP Award in his career which is not a shameful thing considering everything else he has done in the game.
2. Elgin Baylor
Career Stats: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Elgin Baylor was a sensational player, with unbelievable stats as a dominant forward. To many of the old heads, Baylor ranks among the ten best to have ever played regardless of position. The fact that Baylor doesn’t have an MVP Award is astonishing because he was surely the best player in the league at some point in his career.
The knock against Baylor was that he never won an NBA title, and that may have taken away from his greatness. Unfortunately for him, he has gone down as an all-time great player without an NBA MVP nor an NBA championship.
1. Jerry West
Career Stats: 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG
The NBA Logo, Jerry West is arguably the greatest NBA player to have never won an MVP Award. The fact that he hasn’t won one comes down to the fact that he had 4 second-place finishes and finished in the top-five MVP voting 8 times. After all, he was an All-Star for every year in his career and had an amazing postseason.
Just like most all-time greats who didn’t win the MVP, West was simply a victim of circumstance and bad luck because he did everything there was to do in the league.
Perhaps his 1-8 Finals record came back to haunt him, but Mr. West is the best player ever to not have an MVP Award.