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How LeBron James’s MVP season was especially efficient

Miami's LeBron James was historically efficient en route to his fourth MVP award. He registered the third-highest total by an MVP in the category of Win Shares per 48 Minutes, which measures a player's per-minute offensive and defensive efficiency. James finished the season at .322 — only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has posted better numbers as MVP (.326 and .340 in consecutive seasons). The lowest: a .168 by Boston's Dave Cowens. Each MVP's Win Shares per 48 Minutes:

Multiple MVP winners

James joins an elite group with his fourth MVP. Only four other players have won as many, and Michael Jordan is the only other non-center to do so.

Left to right: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Wilt Chamberlain

Player MVPs Seasons
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, C 6 1970-71, 1971-72, 1973-74, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1979-80
Bill Russell, C 5 1957-58, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1964-65
Michael Jordan, G 5 1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98
LeBron James, F 4 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13
Wilt Chamberlain, C 4 1959-60, 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68
Larry Bird, F 3 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86
Magic Johnson, G 3 1986-87, 1988-89, 1989-90
Moses Malone, F 3 1978-79, 1981-82, 1982-83
Bob Pettit, F 2 1955-56, 1958-59
Karl Malone, F 2 1996-97, 1998-99
Tim Duncan, F 2 2001-02, 2002-03
Steve Nash, G 2 2004-05, 2005-06
Best players to never win MVP

A look at the best Win Shares numbers for notable stars who were never league MVP, and who won the award that season. Kevin Durant's .291 this season wasn't enough to best James.

Left to right: Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, John Havlicek, Isiah Thomas, and Patrick Ewing

Player Best WS/48 Total MVP (WS/48)
Elgin Baylor, F 1960-61 .227 Bill Russell (.181)
Jerry West, G 1964-65 .261 Bill Russell (.234)
Rick Barry, F 1966-67 .218 Wilt Chamberlain (.285)
John Havlicek, F 1972-73 .172 Dave Cowens (.168)
Nate Thurmond, F 1972-73 .140 Dave Cowens (.168)
Bob Lanier, C 1973-74 .227 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (.250)
Pete Maravich, G 1975-76 .144 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (.242)
Elvin Hayes, F 1976-77 .173 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (.283)
Isiah Thomas, G 1984-85 .173 Larry Bird (.238)
Kevin McHale, F 1986-87 .232 Magic Johnson (.263)
Dominique Wilkins, G 1986-87 .197 Magic Johnson (.263)
Clyde Drexler, G 1991-92 .223 Michael Jordan (.274)
Patrick Ewing, C 1993-94 .211 Hakeem Olajuwon (.210)
Scottie Pippen, F 1995-96 .209 Michael Jordan (.317)
Gary Payton, G 1999-00 .195 Shaquille O'Neal (.283)
Kevin Durant, F 2012-13 .291 LeBron James (.322)
MVPs by position

Centers dominated the award in past decades, but Shaquille O'Neal is the only true center to win MVP since the 1994-95 season.

MVPs by team

The Celtics have won more MVPs than any other franchise, but none since Larry Bird in 1985-86.

SOURCES: NBA.com, basketball-reference.com

Luke Knox/Globe staff

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INFORMER: Noodles, theater, research, and a seed library

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