KSL UNRIVALED

What Will It Take For A Utah Jazzman To Win The MVP?

Apr 5, 2019, 4:33 PM | Updated: 4:37 pm
Karl Malone - Utah Jazz...
Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone. Ronald Martinez/Allsport

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah ‚ÄstThe talk surrounding the NBA’s most valuable player this season is going to come down between Houston Rocket’s scoring machine in James Harden and the Milwaukee¬†Bucks¬†Giannis Antetokounmpo who has led his team to the best record in the East and averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

The Utah Jazz have not had an MVP winner in 20 years when Karl Malone won his second of two league MVPs back during the strike-shortened 1998-99 season.

So, what would it take for a Jazz player to reach that level of fame to even be considered for the leagues best player?

Small market teams have to overachieve to get attention.

To give an example of just how hard it is to be in the conversation one just has to look to the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have the second-best record in the Western Conference and are technically within reach of the Golden State Warriors for the No. 1 seed.

On the Denver roster, they have Nikola Jokic who is an All-Star this year and is leading this team in every statistical category and is nearly averaging a triple-double with 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.

That is pretty remarkable for a center on the assist front, plus he is averaging just over a steal and one block per game as one of the best defenders in the NBA. Yet, his name is nowhere in the conversation for the MVP, but at best is mentioned as a darkhorse or reasons why Jokic should be in the mix.

The point being made that a player that is putting up great numbers and on one of the best teams in the league is not getting the attention.

It will be extremely tough for a Jazz player to win an MVP unless that player has off the chart success, similar to what Harden is doing by scoring 36.3 points per game which will be the most since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 per game all the way back in 1986-87 season.

Who are the Jazz future MVP candidates?

The Jazz have two potential MVP candidates on the current roster: Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Neither has been an NBA All-Star but that should change soon.

Of the two, Gobert has the edge in recognition by being named to the All-NBA second-team, a two-time All-NBA defensive first-team selection and defensive player of the year, However, defense is not usually considered as a key factor when handing out most valuable player awards.

KSL Sports Alex Kirry lays out what it will take for a Jazz player to be named the best player in the NBA, and it is a lot.

“For the Jazz to have an NBA MVP in the current NBA setup they have to obliterate the West,” Kirry said on KSL’s Unrivaled. It has to be very similar to what Milwaukee is in the sense that people are saying, ‘that is a really, really good team and are turning heads.’ If the Jazz did in the West a much more difficult West and turning heads.”

As for who could do that, Kirry points to Mitchell as the most likely candidate on this Jazz roster and to be in the conversation he must have out of this world numbers.

“Donovan’s gotta average¬†28-plus a game and he is on his way and is a year to two years away from being that 27, 28 points a game guy. The question is: are the Jazz one or two years away from being a one seed or sneak into the – I am not going to say NBA Finals,” Kirry said.

“The Jazz need to go on a Western Conference Finals run, win two rounds of the playoffs and then people are looking. Once you have people looking and then the Jazz have to be a one seed in Utah and average 28 points per game.”

In short, put up huge offensive numbers, put up deep multiple playoff runs, and be the best team in the conference.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

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What Will It Take For A Utah Jazzman To Win The MVP?