Continuing from where we left off yesterday, today we’re covering the best players in every season from ’07-08, up to 2014-15. For seasons 2000-01-2006-07, click here.
2007-08: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Despite not being his best season with the Lakers, Kobe captured his lone MVP award and made yet another appearance in the Finals. The Mamba recorded a stat line of 28.3p/6.3r/5.4a and 13.8 WS (Lamar Odom was second with 9.7).
Although the Lakers were unsuccessful in the playoffs, Kobe led all players with a 30.1 PPG average and was in the top-10 for a bevy of other categories in the regular season.
2008-09: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs in 08-09 won a franchise record 66 games. It’s estimated that James was contributed to 20 of them. Twenty, more than twice Mo Williams‘ 9.8. Cleveland rode LeBron James all the way to the ECF before being beaten in six games by a superb Orlando Magic team; The King averaged 38.3p/8.3r/8.0a in that series and led the playoffs with an average of 35.3 PPG.
In the regular season, LeBron won his first of four MVP awards and led the NBA in a litany of analytical categories. Including PER (31.67, fourth all-time), Win Shares (20.3), Box Plus/Minus (12.9, first all-time), and Value Over Replacement Player (11.6, third all-time).
2009-10: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
In the season following their franchise record in wins, LeBron & Co. put up 61 wins, second best in Cavalier history. LeBron posted another monster stat line, 29.7p/7.3r/8.6a/1.6s, and became the second player ever to average that for a season (Michael Jordan in 1988-89). James also led the league in all the same categories as the year prior, PER, WS, BPM, and VORP.
In the playoffs, however, Boston’s Big Three were too much for Cleveland. The Celtics beat the Cavs in six games before going on to lose to the Lakers in seven in the Finals. His averages for the playoffs in ’09-10 almost matched the ones from last year, 29.1p/9.3r/7.6a.
2010-11: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Just his third year in the league, Derrick Rose was the first of the dynamic, athletic point guards that are so prevalent in the league now. Rose led the Bulls to 62 wins and an ECF appearance. Individually, Rose captured his first MVP award and became the first player since Bob McAdoo in 1974-75 to win the award in their 3rd year or sooner (first guard overall).
Rose averaged 25 points, almost eight assists & over four rebounds per game, and was top-5 in multiple advanced categories; Win Shares (13.1), BPM (5.9), and VORP (6.0).
2011-12: LeBron James, Miami Heat
The year LeBron won his first title and became the eighth player to win three MVP awards. His regular season numbers were about his average, 27.1p/7.9r/6.2a. In the postseason, however, LeBron took his play to another stratosphere.
In five games against OKC in the Finals, LeBron & the Heat reeled off four straight wins, and James averaged 28.2p/10.2r/7.4a. For the entirety of the playoffs, James was the leader in PTS, TRB, ORB, FT & FTA, 2P & 2PA, FG & FGA, and MP.
2012-13: LeBron James, Miami Heat
In his second consecutive MVP season, LeBron garnered 120 out of 121 first place votes and his second straight championship. In what was another typical James season, 26.8p/8.0r/7.3a, LeBron continued to display why he’s the best player of this generation. On a team that featured two other superstars, James led the team (and league) in WS, BPM, VORP, and PER.
As the playoffs rolled around, LBJ was nothing short of spectacular. For the second straight year, he led the playoffs in PTS, FG & FGA, FT & FTA, 2P & 2PA, MP. Despite not leading in rebounds, James made up for it by leading in STLs and ASTs.
2013-14: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
After spending the last few years playing second fiddle to LeBron James, KD had his best season as a pro. KD & the Thunder were beaten by the eventual champions, San Antonio, in the WCF but KD’s regular season was brilliant. Durant put up career-bests in every major scoring category (PTS, FG, FT, and 3P) and led the league in PER (29.8), WS (19.2), Offensive Box +/- (8.4), and VORP (8.5).
2014-15: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Unless you live under a rock, you know who Steph Curry is. Last season was taken by Curry & Golden State, and he did not disappoint. An astounding 67 wins were carried by Steph and that magical jump shot he possesses. Curry led the league in threes made (286), breaking his record (272) in the process. On top of the lead in that category, Curry led in steals, FT%, OBPM, and VORP, and was top-10 in almost every other major category.
Once the season was over, Curry captured his first MVP and had an outstanding playoff run, connecting on 98 long balls (broke Reggie Miller‘s record of 58), and averaged 28.3p/4.0r/5.0a. In the Finals against Cleveland, Steph & LeBron had six remarkable games. As the Warriors beat an injury-laden Cavalier team, Curry averaged 26 points, 6.3 assists and almost two steals per game.
*All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference*
* Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images*