In the wake of Kawhi Leonard’s ACL surgery, Paul George’s MVP betting odds have shifted.
Per DraftKings Sports Book, George is currently sitting at +3500 as of Wednesday afternoon, the fifteenth most-likely 2021-22 MVP. Mavericks star Luka Doncic currently sits as the betting favorite at +400. Leonard is nowhere to be found as a betting option.
While the recovery time for Leonard’s surgery is still a bit hazy, some believe he’ll miss most if not all of the 2021-22 regular season. If the Clippers are successful in the regular season despite Leonard’s absence, it’ll be because George is having a phenomenal year.
It’s a big ask, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. George proved effective in the 2021 postseason once Leonard was sidelined, leading LA to victory in Games 5 and 6 against the Utah Jazz to claim the Western Conference Semifinals before taking the Phoenix Suns to six games in the Conference Finals. In the eight games Leonard was out in the postseason, George averaged 29.6 points, 11 rebounds and 5.4 assists against the top two seeds in the Western Conference. Though he wasn’t always efficient, he acted as the team’s primary ball-handler and offensive engine.
George has come somewhat close to hoisting an MVP trophy in the past, finishing third in voting in his 2018-19 season with the Oklahoma CIty Thunder. However, George had a co-star in Russell Westbrook alongside him at the time. While the Clippers are one of the deeper teams in the NBA, George will be the lone superstar among overtaxed role players. Not to mention two of their core players, Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum, will be free agents this offseason.