The Last 5 All-Star MVPs: How They Did In The Playoffs

The NBA All-Star Game provides fans the opportunity to see a fast-paced, offense-only exhibition with the best players in the world. The Kobe Bryant MVP Award is given to the player who dominates the All-Star game through numbers and success. But can it predict how well the winner will do in the playoffs if they make it at all? Here is a look at how the past five All-Star MVPs have done in the playoffs that same season.

2021 All-Star Game MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo

All-Star Game Stats: 35 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST on 16/16 FG and 3/3 3PT

milwaukee bucksGiannis won the award because of his ruthless efficiency. Nobody had ever gone 16/16 from the floor before in the history of the event. He also made 3 threes and showed off his increasing range. Giannis’ team – Team LeBron – won the game 170-150. The Bucks finished 46-26 in the shortened season, good for 3rd in the East behind the 76ers and Nets. In the first round, the Bucks faced the Miami Heat, a team that had knocked out the Bucks the year before on their unexpected road to the NBA Finals. After Game 1 went to overtime, the series seemed like it would be tight and scrappy. Instead, the Bucks swept the Heat with an average margin of victory of 26 points over the next three games. The Bucks faced the super-team Nets in the next round. This season was the debut of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant on the same team. Unfortunately for the Nets, Kyrie and Harden both only played 4 of the 7 games. The Bucks came back from down 3-2 and beat the Nets. The series is infamous for Kevin Durant’s foot being on the three-point line during his last-second shot, leading to him sending Game 7 to overtime. 

The Bucks won Game 7 and advanced to face the Hawks. Trae Young played well, but the Hawks were simply overmatched. In the NBA Finals, the Bucks faced Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. After going down 2-0, the Bucks started deploying Jrue Holiday’s defense on Chris Paul, not Devin Booker. The Bucks stormed back and won the series 4-2, the first Finals win for the Bucks since 1971 when they had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson on the roster. Giannis punctuated the Finals by dropping 50 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the series-clinching Game 6. His efforts caused him to win Finals MVP. Across the playoffs, Giannis averaged 30.2 PPG, 12.8 RPG, and 5.1 APG on 56.9 FG%.

2020 All-Star Game MVP – Kawhi Leonard

All-Star Game Stats: 30 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST on 11/18 FG and 8/14 3PT 

los angeles clippersKawhi Leonard led all scorers with 30 points while making 8 threes. Kawhi’s team – Team LeBron – narrowly won 157-155. After leaving the champion Toronto Raptors in the off-season, Kawhi teamed up with Paul George in Los Angeles. The Clippers finished the shortened season 2nd in the West at 49-23. In the first round, the Clippers faced the Mavericks. Luka Doncic was making his playoff debut after a monstrous regular season. Luka scorched the Clippers at 31 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 8.7 APG, but it was not enough. Kawhi picked up where he left last playoffs and produced 32.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 2.3 SPG. The Clippers prevailed and moved on to face the Denver Nuggets.

The series started extremely well with the Clippers taking a suffocating 3-1 lead. However, they then consistently blew double-digit leads game after game. In Game 5, the Clippers largest lead peaked at 16 points, and they were up 7 points going into the 4th quarter. In Game 6, the Nuggets were in an even larger hole since they were down 19 points at one time. Once again, the Nuggets stole the game after the Clippers collapsed. Surely it could not happen again, yet it did. The Clippers were up 12 points early, but the Nuggets dominated the second half and won the series 4-3. Kawhi averaged 24.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 5.9 APG, and 2.3 SPG against the Nuggets, but he failed to produce down the stretch of Game 5-7. The Clippers, who were picked by many to win the Finals, ended the season with disappointment and embarrassment. In the Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 4-2.

2019 All-Star Game MVP – Kevin Durant

All-Star Game Stats: 31 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST on 10/15 FG and 6/9 3PT 

golden state warriorsKevin Durant paced the game in scoring with 31 points on an efficient 66 FG% and 66 3PT%. Durant’s team – Team LeBron – won 178-164 because of Durant’s performance. In that season, the Warriors had won the previous two titles and were looking for a three-peat, the first since the Kobe and Shaq Lakers. The Warriors unsurprisingly finished 1st in the West with a 57-25 record. In the first round, the Warriors defeated the scrappy Los Angeles Clippers 4-2. In Game 2, the Clippers roared back from a 31-point deficit and stunned the reigning champs. Patrick Beverley and Kevin Durant got into it, which only ignited Durant’s fire. For the series, he averaged 35.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.3 APG. The Warriors moved on to face the Houston Rockets. James Harden and Chris Paul almost beat the Warriors the previous year, but a Paul hamstring injury meant the Rockets couldn’t hold their 3-2 lead. Durant was injured in Game 5, but the Warriors managed to hang on and take care of the Rockets.

In the Western Conference Finals, they faced the Portland Trail Blazers, who sought to make their first Finals appearance since 1992. Durant didn’t play a single game, yet the Warriors swept the Blazers 4-0. Stephen Curry reminded the basketball world that he can be the alpha scorer, going for 36.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 7.3 APG in the series. Their last opponent was the deep Toronto Raptors. The Raptors made a bold decision and went all in, trading DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. They also brought in Marc Gasol at the trade deadline. Durant rushed his comeback and ended up tearing his achilles after only 12 minutes. The Warriors didn’t have the same depth as the pre-Durant Warriors, and the Raptors defeated the Warriors 4-2 to stop the three-peat. Klay Thompson tore his ACL late in Game 6, which effectively stopped any chance of a Warriors comeback. In 12 playoff games, Durant averaged 32.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 4.5 APG on an absurd 51/43/90 shooting split. He departed for the Nets in the off-season after winning two championships in three years with the Warriors.

2018 All-Star Game MVP – LeBron James

All-Star Game Stats: 29 PTS, 10 REB, 8 AST on 12/17 FG and 4/8 3PT

cleveland cavaliersIn the first ever All-Star Game with captains, LeBron stole the show with a near triple-double. His team (does LeBron’s All-Star team ever lose?) won a close one 148-145. The Cavaliers lost the year before to the Warriors in the Finals 4-1, so they were looking for redemption. They finished the season 4th in the East with a 50-32 record. The Cavaliers faced a tough Indiana Pacers team. Victor Oladipo averaged 22.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 6.0 APG, but they could not win Game 7. The Cavaliers won 4-3 off of LeBron’s line of 34.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 7.7 APG. In the following round, LeBron swept the Toronto Raptors 4-0. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan could never get the job done against LeBron, and it was proven once again this series. 

The young Celtics faced off against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jaylen Brown was in his 2nd season, and Jayson Tatum was a rookie, but the injured Celtics almost pulled off the miracle. Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving did not play because of injury, yet the Celtics pushed this to seven games. After being down 3-2, LeBron refused to let the Cavaliers lose and carried them to the Finals. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers had no success against Kevin Durant and the Warriors. In Game 1, LeBron dropped 51 points; however, the Warriors won the game in overtime. JR Smith infamously forgot the score and did not take a last-second shot, instead of dribbling out to the three-point line. The series was a forgettable one; LeBron played excellently, but his supporting cast was nowhere near the level of Durant’s. In 22 playoff games, LeBron averaged 34.0 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 9.0 APG.

2017 All-Star Game MVP – Anthony Davis

All-Star Game Stats: 52 PTS, 10 REB, 0 AST on 26/39 FG and 0/4 3PT 

new orleans pelicansThe All-Star Game was held in New Orleans, so Anthony Davis wanted to win it in his home arena. He took an astounding 39 shots and produced a 52-point double-double. Teammate Russell Westbrook gave him a run for his money with 41 points, but Davis secured MVP. The West, with both Davis and Westbrook, won the game 192-182. Of the past 5 All-Star MVPs, Davis was the only player to not make the playoffs. The Pelicans finished 34-48, good for 10th in the West. They were not particularly close either, as the 8th seed held a seven-game lead over them. Missing the playoffs cannot be attributed to Davis though. In 75 games, he averaged 28.0 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG on 50.5 FG%. The West was stacked in the 2010s, so many quality teams missed the playoffs throughout those years.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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