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Kawhi Leonard finishes fifth in MVP voting

The voters recognized Leonard as a top-five player this season.

Los Angeles Clippers v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the 2019-20 NBA MVP, becoming one of 14 ever NBA players to win multiple MVP awards.

Antetokounmpo was followed by LeBron James, James Harden, Luka Doncic, and then Kawhi Leonard. Leonard appeared on 70 of 101 ballots. He earned nine third-place votes, 31 fourth-place votes, and 30 fifth-place votes to finish with 168 total points.

This is the third time in his career that Leonard has been a top-five finisher for MVP, and his fifth top-10 finish. The highest Leonard ever placed in MVP voting was second in 2016, and third the following year. He was 10th in 2015 and ninth last season.

What’s interesting about Leonard’s ranking is that all four players who placed above him were all named first-team all-NBA. The fifth member of that first team, Anthony Davis, finished behind Leonard in the MVP ballot, which suggests it may be time to reconsider the positional format of awards voting. But that is a topic for another day!

This is the first time since 2016 that a Clipper has finished in the top ten of the MVP ballot, when Chris Paul placed sixth. The last top-five Clipper was in 2014 when Blake Griffin ended up third, though it’s worth nothing that current Clipper Paul George finished third in last year’s rankings.

Leonard had a career-best season on the offensive end for the Clippers. He averaged career-highs in points, assists, and 3-point makes per game, and also recorded his first ever triple-double.

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