Fifth: Kawhi Leonard – 118 points
Presumably, the missed games due to load management played a factor in the reigning NBA Finals MVP votes. He picked up 12 third place, 15 fourth place, and 13 fifth-place votes. The Klaw doesn’t place any importance on the regular season other than using it as a building block to the playoffs.
In addition, former OKC Thunder star who was the key to Leonard signing with the Clippers has spent time in and out of the lineup all season. Although Leonard proved last season he could quickly adapt to a new system and team he had Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry in the lineup whenever he played.
It was Leonard who missed games with “load management” something he’s done in LA as well. Leonard has played in of the 51 of the Clippers 64 matches whereas Paul George has 22 games.
Sixth: Anthony Davis – 58 points
It’s a little surprising Davis was listed on just 28 ballots and placed so far behind Harden, Doncic, and Leonard. There is an argument to be made that his presence on the Lakers is more important than James.
Or maybe the better way to look at this is if the Lakers had another playmaker on the club would LeBron’s on/off court differential be as dramatic? Davis probably loses votes to James but the irony is of the core categories James leads assists but Davis is tops in rebounds, points, and free throw attempts.