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2019 MVP Odds Say Kawhi-DeRozan Trade was Win-Win

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated Mar 25, 2020 · 3:17 PM PDT

DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan's hot start to the season has him approaching the MVP conversation. Photo by lam_chihang (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Raptors and Spurs are both thriving after their offseason mega-trade
  • DeMar DeRozan has shot up the 2019 NBA MVP odds boards
  • Kawhi Leonard is working to reach an MVP level in Toronto

It’s probably more rare than a 60-point game, a quadruple-double, and even those wild 30-point, 30-rebound games that make our eyes light up when we look at such a wild box score.

What is it? A star-for-star deal that actually benefits both teams.

In fact, San Antonio and Toronto’s swap that featured Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan could very well be the best the league has ever seen.

2019 NBA MVP Award Average Odds

Vegas is taking notice, as they have shortened the odds – particularly DeRozan, who is riding a bullet train to catch the attention of the field. Click on the “Top 10” tab on the graph above to see the odds of both players.


Leonard is Just Starting to Scratch the Surface

Hard to believe, but Leonard isn’t nearly close to the fully dominant robot that wrecked both ends of the court regularly in his apex years with the Spurs.

And yet, he’s averaging 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season, shooting 50.4% from the field and a sparkling 44.4% from behind the arc, while delivering on defense, his bread and butter.

The one thing that is fully intact is his relentless star-power swag. For a team short on confidence in clutch moments, the effect is gigantic.


He’s yet to lose a game in a Raps uniform, having sat out two contests, each the front end of a back-to-back, as he strengthens himself from major inactivity. While total team concepts are coming together, what I’m most impressed with is his iso game, which looks lethal.


DeRozan Elevates Spurs to Elite Level

There was a really great ESPN story that came out this week about how DeRozan has been entrusted to be the guy for the Spurs, and man, he has run with that responsibility.

DD has started all seven games, and is posting 27.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists – which are all currently career highs. He’s also shooting it from the field at a career high 52.1% and matching a career-best 20.9 field goal attempts per contest.

At times, he’s looked utterly unstoppable, with a deadly midrange game that would make Kobe Bryant blush.

While Leonard is clearly (when healthy) on a level above DeRozan, the Spurs’ system and continuity only needed a great wing scorer to lead the way, and the rest of the role players could gear down into their natural slots.

Kawhi may be all world, but replacing him with a second team all-NBA star – one that is available and willing to be part of the team – isn’t bad at all.

2019 NBA MVP Odds

Player  Odds (11/01/18)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) +375
Anthony Davis (Pelicans) +450
LeBron James (Lakers) +450
Kawhi Leonard (Raptors) +650
Steph Curry (Warriors) +650
T-10 DeMar DeRozan (Spurs) +2800

Are Either Worthy of an MVP Wager?

In this instance, conference matters. Even down budding point guard Dejounte Murray and first round pick Lonnie Walker IV to injuries for the year before the season started, the Spurs already look top-four frisky, but the West is loaded. DeMar is a great story, but you’d be better looking elsewhere for an MVP bet.

Meanwhile, Kawhi is currently playing on arguably the most talented team in the East, and, should he hold up physically, he will be the best player in that conference. With an asterisk to Russell Westbrook, the best-player-on-the-best-team is the formula to winning MVP.

You probably wished you laid some cash down on Kawhi before the offseason, but it’s still a good bet to make at +650.

If you’re wondering about the rest of the field, +450 for LeBron and Anthony Davis are still very attractive odds.

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