If you look at the numbers, Mavericks star Luka Doncic is easily the NBA's MVP frontrunner. With averages of 33.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists on 50.5% shooting, he has done a little of everything for Dallas this season.
But if you ask ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, Luka Doncic is not on his MVP ballot at all. As the former NBA big man said on 'NBA Today' this week, players must be on winning teams for him to consider them for MVP.
"Not only do you have to have great individual numbers, but your team has to be winning. Your team can't be sitting at the number 9th or 10th spot with a .500 record and you expect him to be in the MVP conversation. It's just not how it works. Luka has been doing his thing individually, but last time I checked your team has to have success and be up in the top tier as well."
Historically, MVP winners have usually been awarded to players on teams near the top of the standings. It's hard to make a case for being the league's most valuable player, after all, if you keep losing. Still, there is precedent for MVPs not being on title-contending teams.