What does it take to become the Most Valuable Player in the NBA? The criteria behind the NBA’s MVP award are highly subjective with multiple factors coming into play. One that’s been talked about a lot amidst the load management era is how heavily a player’s overall games played total weighs into all this.

Back-to-back MVP winner Nikola Jokic was one of just 11 NBA players who didn’t miss a game during the 2020-21 season. His durability has been lauded as one of the main points of his MVP argument but his production on the court is also just as vital. Joe VardonLaw Murray, and Bob Kravitz from The Athletic sat down with All-Stars such as DeMar DeRozan, Paul George and several other NBA players to discuss a host of topics during the All-Star Weekend, including how many games played a candidate needs to win the most coveted individual plum in the league.

“All of them. All 82,” said DeMar DeRozan on how durable his ideal NBA MVP candidate should be. “Minimum? 78.”

“I think if you play at least 75 to the full 82, it just says a lot about that particular player to be able to do it for that many games. To go that long into the season with consistency requires to just be healthy and available on a nightly basis. You got to play the majority of them,” said Paul George.

Both players have garnered NBA MVP votes throughout their respective careers and have competed at close to that level of play needed. When you get to the top, the margins up for debate get slimmer. To their eyes, availability then becomes a major sticking point.

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But not everybody agrees with that take. Two younger All-Stars in Bam Adebayo and Tyrese Haliburton had a differing take on the matter.

“I don’t think there should be a requirement,” said Haliburton on games played factoring into the NBA MVP award. “I think it’s overblown. I think the idea of having to set a game minimum, amount or whatever, I think is dumb. If this guy gets hurt, how can he control that? And if he’s the best player in the league that year, having the best year, what can you do? I think the voters take that into consideration.”

“If a guy plays 50 games, but he’s the best player in those 50, it’s kind of hard to justify not giving it to him,” claimed Adebayo.

The term “valuable” in of itself can take many forms. The attempts to quantify what it truly means are simply to make it easier to argue on who deserves the MVP trophy at the end of the NBA season. Number of games played certainly factors into it, but just how much will remain up for debate.