As the ring leader for one of the best basketball shows in the entire NBA, all eyes will be on Kyrie Irving at the start of the season.
And as Boston makes its way through what many expect will be a trip to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, much of that success will, in all likelihood, be attributed to Irving and his play.
But will it be good enough for him to be the league’s MVP, an award that has shown some serious love to guards recently?
All four of the most recent league MVPs were guards, with three of them being 6-foot-3 – the same height as Irving.
Just saying . . .
(Prior to the last four winners, seven of the previous eight stood at least 6-6.)
So, what does Irving have to do to become the latest guard to walk away with the league’s highest single-season individual honor?
SCORE MORE POINTS
The last few years have shown us the clearest path towards scoring a league MVP award, is to score points -- lots of points. Each of the last three league MVPs also took home the NBA’s scoring crown. Irving has never averaged more than 25.4 points per game in a single season. Only two players, Steph Curry in 2015 and Derrick Rose in 2011, won the league MVP award with a lower scoring average.
Racking up victories is another sure-fire way to at least get into the league-MVP conversation. We saw that last year with Irving as the Celtics reeled off 16 consecutive wins. As we’ve seen in recent years, there is a relatively high value placed on team’s success when it comes to individual accolades. Of the four most recent league MVPs, three of them were on teams that won at least 65 games. And the lone exception was Russell Westbrook in 2017, when he averaged a triple-double for a 47-win Oklahoma City squad.