The NBA only features the greatest players on earth so obviously, it's not easy to stand out from the rest when you're competing vs. top-tier athletes. Also, being the league's best player goes way beyond the stat-sheet, it'll also have to be reflected on your team's performance.
There have been countless great players that have posted MVP-caliber seasons lately. In fact, some of them have even put together more impressive stats than the actual winners but they've failed to lead their teams to success and that's also a big part of the question.
That's why just a handful of players have dominated the MVP voting over the past five years or so. To be more accurate, four players have pretty much hogged the MVP voting for themselves, and today, we're going to let you everything there is to know about them.
Note: The only other players with first-place votes are LeBron James (16) and Kawhi Leonard (9)
Russell Westbrook - 69 Votes
Russell Westbrook posted one of the most impressive seasons in NBA history in 2016-17. He averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming the second player to ever average a triple-double for a full season.
Westbrook was also the league's scoring champion. He had to do it all with Kevin Durant out of town, and even though the Thunder barely hung on to the 6th seed in the West, it was more than enough to grant him his first MVP award so far.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - 78 Votes
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the league's reigning MVP. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the league last year and posted averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game while also being one of the league's finest defenders.
The Greek Freak hogged most of the first-place votes all to himself, with James Harden finishing second with just 22 votes. Giannis was the best player on the best team and he's only gotten better since that season, and that's a scary thought.
James Harden - 156 Votes
James Harden has finished in second in MVP voting in 4 out of the 5 years. That's why he holds a grand total of 158 first-place votes even though he only has one MVP award under his belt to brag about. Hey, that's just how life goes sometimes.
Harden was finally given his much-deserved award on 2017-18. He averaged a league-high 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He's had a strong case for winning the MVP at least one more time so far, including this season.
Stephen Curry - 231 Votes
And, obviously, Stephen Curry has to sit at the top of this list. I mean, he's won two out of the last five MVP awards. They came during the 2014-15 season and 2015-16 campaign when he became the league's first unanimous MVP ever.
Curry had a whopping 131 first-place votes during his unanimous MVP season to add from the 100 he got the previous year. Inexplicably, there are still people who think he's overrated despite being the best player on the strongest dynasty of the past five years.