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Every NBA Franchises Total MVPs Won By A Player On Their Team

Every NBA Franchises Total MVPs Won By A Player On Their Team

There can only be one player that is regarded as the best in the league. There are only a few players that ever get to have that recognition once. Some players are fortunate to be named more than once. Winning the MVP means that you were the most valuable player in the league. In a league that has many professional basketball players, it’s a true honor.

Some franchises such as the Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls highlight the most MVPs per team. Some other franchises are looking for a player to wear their jersey and win the award. As the season is featuring some players coming out of the woodwork as MVP favorites, let’s take a look at every NBA franchise’s total MVPs won by a player on their team.

Atlanta Hawks - 2

Bob Pettit - 1956, 1959 (2)

The Hawks haven’t seen an MVP since the days of Bob Pettit. Pettit was a runner-up in 1957 and 1961 but still walked away with two awards in his career. Pettit was actually the first player to win the MVP when it became an annual award. When Pettit won in 1856, he averaged 25.7 points and 16.2 rebounds.

A few years later, he averaged 29.2 points and 16.4 rebounds to win his second trophy. This was one year after Pettit led the Hawks to an NBA championship. The Hawks nearly saw Dominique Wilkins win an MVP during his tenure, but he was just a top vote-getter. Maybe, Trae Young will make his way into the MVP conversation one day.

Boston Celtics - 10

Bill Russell - 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965 (5)

Larry Bird - 1984, 1985, 1986 (3)

Dave Cowens - 1973 (1)

Bob Cousy - 1957 (1)

Bill Russell is one of three players to record at least five MVPs in his career. Russell was a dominant figure during his career in the 50s and 60. Russell led the Celtics to 11 championships, but he was able to capture five MVPs during the regular season. For his efforts, he is a major reason that the Celtics own the most MVPs as a team.

Larry Bird is another contributing factor. Bird is the only player in league history to record three straight MVP seasons. Rounding out the rest is Dave Cowens, who averaged 19.0 points and 15.7 rebounds on his way to winning his award. Bob Cousy became the second-ever MVP with his 20.6 points and 7.5 assists. Had this award been around six years earlier, Cousy might have seen his name in the top-3 voting. 

Brooklyn Nets - None

The Nets do not own an MVP winner in their franchise history. Julius Erving might have been a candidate back in the day, but the New Jersey Nets were a part of the ABA and not the NBA during the pinnacle of his career. Jason Kidd is the closest winner and that was when the Nets were still based in New Jersey.

In 2002, Kidd finished runner-up in the voting with 14.7 points, 9.9 assists, and 7.3 rebounds. Kidd led the Nets to the NBA Finals but was ultimately defeated by the Lakers. In the regular season, Kidd was the best overall guard and helped the Nets go from pretender to contender in just one season after he was traded by the Mavericks.

Charlotte Hornets - None

The Hornets do not own an MVP in their history. The Hornets have never seen a player finish in the top-3 in their voting. Kemba Walker, their all-time leading scorer, was never mentioned in the top-10 voting, mainly because the Hornets were not good as a team. The Hornets never made the second round of the playoffs during his tenure.

The closest candidate for the team was Al Jefferson in 2014. Jefferson averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. Out of all the players in team history, you wouldn't have expected to see Jefferson here, but the Hornets have never been a true contender in the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers - 2

LeBron James - 2009, 2010 (2)

When LeBron James was wearing a Cavaliers jersey, the team was relevant. When he left, the team was bad. When he returned, the team made the NBA Finals four straight years. The real shame is that LeBron never won an MVP on his homecoming return, even though he did win one Finals MVP when the Cavaliers won the title in 2016.

In his first tenure, LeBron won his first MVP in 2009, when he averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks. The Cavaliers were seen as the best team in the Eastern Conference this year but were famously defeated by the Magic in the postseason. Then, LeBron won his second MVP with 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks. That year, the Cavaliers were beaten early in the playoffs, which sparked his departure to the Miami Heat.

Chicago Bulls - 6

Michael Jordan - 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998 (5)

Derrick Rose - 2011 (1)

Michael Jordan is one of three players to ever win the MVP five times. Nobody can blame the voters. In 1988, Jordan was the best offensive and defensive player in the league. Then, each of the four times Jordan won the MVP, the Bulls went on to win the NBA championship. The only years that Jordan didn’t win the title and the MVP was in 1993 (Charles Barkley) and 1997 (Karl Malone).

As for Derrick Rose, the hometown Chicago kid wowed the world when he became the youngest MVP in league history when he was 22 years and 191 days old. Rose led the Bulls to the No. 1 seed and had the city believing they could win the NBA title. Rose was dunking like the old version of Jordan. Instead of becoming the next Jordan, the well-documented injuries and LeBron James stopped that new dynasty from happening.

Dallas Mavericks - 1

Dirk Nowitzki - 2007 (1)

The Mavericks had just come off an appearance in the NBA Finals, which they lost to the Heat. With the bulk of the roster back, many thought the team had a good shot of contending again. The Mavericks did exactly that by winning 67 games, led by the Bavarian Bomber, who won the league’s MVP Award.

Nowitzki averaged 24.6 points and 8.9 rebounds on his way to leading the team to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. With that said, the team is mostly remembered for losing to the Golden State Warriors, who were the No. 8 seed, in the playoffs. Nowitzki made up for it in 2011 when he won Finals MVP and led the team to their first championship in franchise history.

Denver Nuggets - 1

Nikola Jokic - 2021 (1)

You can go through some of the greats like Alex English, Dan Issel, and Carmelo Anthony, but none of those players ever won an MVP. The first MVP in team history was Nikola Jokic this past season. The 7-foot center might be the best at the position we have ever seen. We have never seen a player gather triple-doubles the way that he has.

Jokic averaged 26.4 pints, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists as a center. He also shot 37% from the three-point range. The Nuggets have relied on Jokic to lead them as the supporting cast has struggled with injuries. The only thing he needs now is that exclusive championship ring.

Detroit Pistons - None

The Pistons are always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. Take a look at these players who have come so close, but no cigar. In 1958, George Yardley averaged 27.8 points and 10.7 rebounds but finished third. In 1968, Dave Bing finished fourth with 27.1 points per game. He then finished third in 1971 with 27.0 points per game.

In 1974, Bob Lanier finished third with 22.5 points and 13.3 rebounds. Their last top-3 voter was Grant Hill in 1997, who averaged 21.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. Then, you have the dynasty squad that was an Eastern Conference juggernaut during the 2000s. We didn’t even talk about Isiah Thomas and the “Bad Boy Pistons.” The Pistons have been overlooked for quite a few years it seems.

Indiana Pacers - None

Here’s a fun fact about Reggie Miller. The former Pacers All-Star and three-point shooting champion never finished as high as 13th in the MVP voting, which he came when he led the Pacers to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. Outside of that year, Miller was never considered one of the best players in the league.

The player that has come the closest was Jermaine O’Neal in 2004. That year, O’Neal finished third when he averaged 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds. The Pacers won 61 games and won the No. 1 seed, but were defeated in the Conference Finals by the Pistons, who ultimately won the championship that season.

Golden State Warriors - 3

Stephen Curry - 2015, 2016 (2)

Wilt Chamberlain - 1960 (1)

We are watching greatness with Curry every single night, but when he first got it started, it was just as fun. Curry led the Warriors to the top of the standings in 2014-2015, which included winning a championship. Then, he became the first unanimous MVP in league history when he led the league in scoring, steals, and joined the 50-40-90 club. The Warriors won a league-high 73 games that year, breaking Michael Jordan’s Bulls record of 72.

As for the other MVP of the group, Wilt Chamberlain won one award with the team. It was his first season playing in the NBA, where he averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds. These are numbers that we will likely never see again.

Houston Rockets - 4

Moses Malone - 1979, 1982 (2)

James Harden - 2018 (1)

Hakeem Olajuwon - 1994 (1)

Moses Malone was a two-time winner, who was known for his offensive eye for the game. Malone won his first award with a line of 24.8 points and 17.6 rebounds. He won three years later averaging 31.1 points and 14.7 rebounds. The following year, Malone won his lone NBA championship.

James Harden is the most recent winner for the Rockets. Harden won the award when he led the league in scoring with 36.1 points per game, which is one of the highest regular-season totals we have seen in the modern era. As for Olajuwon, he got to live the dream in 1994 when he won the MVP and Finals MVP. Despite losing to David Robinson in 1995, he did get the last laugh by defeating the Spurs to make the NBA Finals, on route to winning his second championship.

Los Angeles Clippers - 1

Bob McAdoo - 1975 (1)

Bob McAdoo led the league in scoring three times and was the 1973 Rookie of the Year. When he won the MVP, he led the league in scoring with 34.5 points. He was a sweet-shooting big man that eventually joined the Lakers and won two championships in 1982 and 1985.

As for the Clippers, there was a time that the team was a big laughing stock. When Chris Paul joined the team and formed “Lob City,” the Clippers were entertaining. Now, Paul George is looking to become the highest placed finisher in Clippers history since McAdoo won the award all those years ago.

Los Angeles Lakers - 8

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1976, 1977, 1980 (3)

Magic Johnson - 1987, 1989, 1990 (3)

Kobe Bryant - 2008 (1)

Shaquille O’Neal - 2000 (1)

When Kareem left the Bucks, he joined a juggernaut with the Lakers and formed one of the best combinations in league history. Kareem won three more MVPs on his own but also got to watch his teammate Magic Johnson win three of his own during their tenure. The combo had the Lakers contending for championships every year they played.

Another great duo in team history was Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Both players were “only” able to win one apiece. In 2008, Bryant led the league in scoring and led the Lakers to the NBA Finals. In 2000, Shaq led the league in scoring and led the Lakers to the NBA Finals, but he was able to win the championship and Finals MVP, while Bryant was taken down by the Celtics.

Memphis Grizzlies - None

The Grizzlies have never had a player win MVP in their team history. The closest they have seen a player come was in 2015-2015 when Marc Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds. While his numbers are low, he was a defensive specialist that helped change other teams’ approaches to the offense.

Gasol won the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, but he finished tied for 12th in the league voting. Mike Conley Jr. was never seen as a top voter either. With Ja Morant leading the way, there is hope for the Grizzlies one day.

Miami Heat - 2

LeBron James - 2012, 2013 (2)

These two seasons were special for the Heat’s history because LeBron James won the MVP and Finals MVP in both seasons. LeBron averaged 27.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 2011-2012. He followed that up with 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Both years, the Heat were one of the best teams in the league.

LeBron was incredible these two years and became the first and only player to win the MVP. Shaq nearly won the award in 2005 but finished as the runner-up. Dwyane Wade once finished third in 2008-2009. Wade was LeBron’s teammate from 2011-2014, which is why the world criticized LeBron for joining a “superteam” in 2010.

Milwaukee Bucks - 5

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1971, 1972, 1974 (3)

Giannis Antetkounmpo - 2019, 2020 (2)

Kareem won in 1971 when he led the Bucks to their first NBA championship. Then, he ran it back with 34.8 points and 16.6 rebounds per game. He won his third MVP with 27.0 points and 14.5 rebounds. Altogether, he was the best player on the floor during these years and helped the Bucks become a top team in the East.

It wasn’t until Giannis Antetokounmpo joined the team to make the team a real contender for the first time since Kareem jumped ship to join the Lakers. Giannis won his first MVP in 2019 when the Bucks won 60 games and the No. 1 seed. Then, he won both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. Giannis nearly became the first player since Larry Bird to win three straight MVPs, but instead, he led the Bucks to their first championship since Kareem did in 1971 and won Finals MVP instead.

Minnesota Timberwolves - 1

Kevin Garnett - 2004 (1)

The only time the Timberwolves saw their jersey worn with an MVP winner was when Kevin Garnett won in 2003-2004. Garnett averaged 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.2 blocks. It’s one of the greatest individual seasons we have ever seen from power forward. As a team, the Timberwolves were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and made the Conference Finals before losing to the Lakers.

Since then, the Timberwolves haven’t sniffed anywhere close to the MVP voting. The team has made the playoffs just once. Karl-Anthony Towns seems like a solid player but is nowhere near an MVP caliber player. With Anthony Edwards in his second season, who knows what the future of his career looks like.

New Orleans Pelicans - None

The Pelicans have never seen a player win, but have some honorable mentions. Pistol Pete Maravich once finished third, but that was when the Utah Jazz was considered the New Orleans Jazz, so he doesn’t fall into this category outside of being in the area of New Orleans. Only two players in the team’s history get that honor.

The first is Chris Paul, who owns the best overall finish in team history. In 2007-2008, Paul averaged 21.1 points, 11.6 assists, 2.7 steals, and the team had the second-best record in the West. Paul finished as the MVP runner-up that year. As for the other, Anthony Davis finished third in 2018 when he averaged 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds. The team was the No. 6 seed, but it was a super-loaded conference this season.

New York Knicks - 1

Willis Reed - 1970 (1)

The Knicks haven’t seen a player since Willis Reed win nearly 52 years ago. In 2013, the Knicks thought that Carmelo Anthony had a chance when he led the league in scoring, but he finished third, losing to Kevin Durant and winner LeBron James. Instead, New York just has one winner.

The year before, Reed finished second, while Walt Frazier finished fourth in the same season. Reed enjoyed a successful 1969-1970 season that saw him average 21.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and win an NBA championship.

Orlando Magic - None

The Magic have never seen a player in their franchise win MVP, but have three players that have come close. Shaq nearly won the award in 1995 when he finished runner-up with a line of 29.3 points and 11.4 rebounds. The following year, Penny Hardaway finished third with 21.7 points and 7.1 assists.

Dwight Howard’s best finish came in 2011 when he was the runner-up with 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. Howard won Defensive Player of the Year, but narrowly missed winning the MVP to a young Derrick Rose.

Oklahoma City Thunder - 2

Russell Westbrook - 2017 (1)

Kevin Durant - 2014 (1)

The Thunder date back to the days of Seattle, where Gary Payton once finished as high as sixth. The two players that won an MVP were extremely deserving. Starting with Russell Westbrook, he became the first player to record a triple-double average for a season since Oscar Robertson in 1962. Westbrook also did that the first year without Kevin Durant, who left the team to join the Warriors.

As for Durant, he led the Thunder to the second-best record in the league and led the league in scoring. There was not a better overall finisher than Durant that season. The Thunder also made the Conference Finals but were defeated by the No. 1 seed Spurs.

Portland Trail Blazers - 1

Bill Walton - 1978 (1)

The lone time that the Trail Blazers saw the team win an MVP was in 1978, where he also led the team to a championship where he was Finals MVP. Some may look at this and wonder why Clyde Drexler was not on the list. Drexler averaged 25 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists on his way to leading the team to the Finals. The problem was that Michael Jordan had one of the best individual seasons in NBA history.

As for another star in team history, Damian Lillard has never finished in the top-3 for voting. Lillard has finished inside the top-10 five times, which includes in 2016 (8th), 2018 (4th), 2019 (6th), 2020 (8th), and 2021 (7th).

Philadelphia 76ers - 6

Wilt Chamberlain - 1966, 1967, 1968 (3)

Allen Iverson - 2001 (1)

Moses Malone - 1983 (1)

Julius Erving - 1981 (1)

Wilt Chamberlain won the MVP four times in his career. He won once with the Warriors and then won the three-peat from 1966 to 1968. During those years, Chamberlain averaged rebounding totals of 24.6, 24.2, and 23.8. That goes with his scoring total of 33.5 in 1965-1966. The surprising fact was that he didn’t win the MVP during the year he scored 100 points in a game.

As for other successful 76ers products, Malone won the MVP and led the 76ers to an NBA championship. Julius Erving won a championship as a teammate to Malone in 1983 but won his award two years before Malone joined the team. As for Iverson, he led the 76ers to the NBA Finals before losing to the Lakers but owns the honor of being the shortest MVP in league history.

Phoenix Suns - 3

Steve Nash - 2005, 2006 (2)

 Charles Barkley - 1993 (1)

When the Suns acquired Steve Nash, they were thinking they were going to get a pretty good player. They probably didn’t expect a two-time MVP that led the Suns to the best offense in the NB. In both years, Nash led the league in assists and orchestrated some of the best offenses under Mike D’Antoni.

As for Charles Barkley, he averaged 21.6 points and 11.2 rebounds. The Suns made the NBA Finals before losing to the Bulls. The Suns would have been nothing without Barkley. As for the future, with a top product like Devin Booker on the team, we could see a potential addition to this list down the road one day.

Sacramento Kings - 1

Oscar Robertson - 1964 (1)

The year that Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in a season did not see him win an MVP. Isn’t that crazy? Robertson lost out to Bill Russell despite averaging 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. Before Russell Westbrook completed this in 2017, the 1961-1962 season was the last time we saw this and he didn’t get awarded the MVP.

To make matters worse, Robertson finished third in the MVP voting. Robertson finished third in the voting in 1963 and 1966, as well as finishing runner-up in 1965. Robertson feels like he should own more than the one MVP, so he is deserving of the biggest snub when it comes to these voting tallies.

San Antonio Spurs - 3

Tim Duncan - 2002, 2003 (2)

David Robinson - 1995 (1)

In 2002, Duncan beat out Jason Kidd for the MVP, but it was Kid that made the NBA Finals. However, Duncan got to live the true NBA dream in 2003 when he won the MVP, made the NBA Finals, won a ring, and won Finals MVP. The unfortunate tragedy is that Duncan beat Kidd again this time as the Spurs played the Nets in the Finals.

The team’s other recipient was David Robinson, who paced the team to 62 wins and the No. 1 seed in the West. The team lost the Conference Finals to the Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon, who lost to Robinson in the MVP voting.

Toronto Raptors - None

The Raptors have never seen a player win the MVP. Since the Raptors became a franchise, they have displayed some effective players. Vince Carter was never a top-tier voter. KyleLowry finished 10th once, while Kawhi Leonard finished 9th during the team’s championship run. The closest recent finisher was Chris Bosh once finished seventh place.

The shocking data point is that Leonard finished ninth. In 60 games, Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and shot 49.6% from the field. The Raptors were a great team when he was on the floor. Joel Embiid missed significant time last year and finished runner-up. That was likely because the 76ers finished as the No. 1 seed, while the Raptors finished No. 2.

Utah Jazz - 2

Karl Malone - 1997, 1999 (2)

The 1996-1997 season was special because of two reasons. For starters, Malone won his first MVP after tirelessly competing against the great Michael Jordan. With that said, Malone won the MVP over Jordan, who had an extra competitive fire in the 1997 NBA Finals when the Jazz and Bulls collided. In the end, Jordan got the last laugh with the Finals MVP and championship.

After losing to the Bulls in the Finals in 1998, Malone took advantage of Jordan’s retirement by winning his second MVP. Unfortunately, the Jazz was unable to make the NBA Finals again. Since then, the Jazz has not had a player of Malone’s caliber finish in the top tier of the MVP voting.

Washington Wizards - 1

Wes Unseld - 1969 (1)

If we want to be technical, the Wizards have never had an MVP. That’s because when Wes Unseld won his award the team was based in Baltimore and they were the Baltimore Bullets. In the end, the franchise still owns that history, so Unseld gives the Wizards at least one recipient with the honor.

Unseld won the award in his rookie season when he averaged 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds. Unseld was known for his defensive abilities and effective rebounding. The Bullets won 57 games and the No. 1 seed but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. 


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