Top Contenders in the NBA MVP Race
This NBA season definitely hasn’t lacked excitement, with teams shaken up and new contenders on both sides of the Nba. There are already three new MVP candidates that weren’t here last year, providing speculation on who will take the award home. This year is probably one of the closest the race has ever been, and barring any injuries, the winner will come down to the buzzer.
1. Nikola Jokic
In first place, I have Nikola Jokic winning MVP. Nuggets’ big man has been averaging 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists this season. He’s doing it at both ends of the floor, and still, the Nuggets sit at the 6 seed. This is most likely due to the number of injuries they have sustained. Starting point guard Jamal Murray and starting forward Micheal Porter Jr both are out for the season, possibly returning for the playoffs. This leaves Nikola Jokic as the sole person to carry the team in their absence. At this point in his career, Jokic can be called the greatest second-round pick of all time. If he stays consistent in his play, look for Jokic to be repeating as MVP.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
For second place, I think Giannis fits perfectly here. Giannis Antetokounmpo has slowly been rising in talks for the MVP and DPOY. As usual, Giannis has been a force on both ends of the floor. Right now the Bucks sit at the 4-seed, only one game back from the 1 seed. The East is the most competitive it’s been in a while, due to the fact that the Bulls are a surprise breakout team. Nevertheless, Giannis and the Bucks are the only team in the East to be at the top 5 years in a row consistently. Giannis is averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. If everything stays the same, Giannis will be winning at least one award this year.
3. Joel Embiid
Rising rapidly, Joel Embiid sits at 3rd. The Philadelphia 76ers have been the talk of the season, with guard Ben Simmons refusing to play. Many thought this would mean the end of their dominance, but Joel Embiid has other plans. Embiid has been on an absolute tear as of the last month, putting up 36 points, 12 rebounds on 53% shooting in his last 10 games. Embiid is on a mission to take his team to the finals, after losing in the second round last year. He has been the fastest-rising MVP candidate, whereas 2 months ago he wasn’t in the conversation. If he continues this high level of play, he will overtake Jokic and Giannis as the sole MVP.
4. Ja Morant
This might be the most controversial name on the list, but at number 4 I have Ja Morant. What he’s doing is absolutely amazing, leading the Grizzlies to the 3-seed. Last year the Grizzlies were a play-in team, now they are beating the best teams in the NBA. This is due to his dramatic improvement, averaging 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. Last year he averaged 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. Not only did his numbers go up, but his presence on the court clearly gives his teammates confidence. Ja is a dark horse for the MVP, look for him to keep rising up in the rankings.
5. Demar DeRozan
Finally, in 5th place, Demar DeRozan has a shot at MVP. The arrival of Demar DeRozan in Chicago has absolutely brought life back to the once dying Bulls. The Bulls surprised everyone this year, holding the 1-seed for almost the entire year. Demar has been the big reason for this, averaging 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. The most underrated part of DeRozan’s game though is his defense. With the Bulls signing Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, DeRozan has been able to put more focus into his offense, and it has shown. The sheer change in the Bulls record goes to show the impact and importance DeRozan has to this squad. Last year the Bulls won 22 games and were the 11-seed. Halfway through the year the Bulls have already won 33 games and sit at the 2seed. Watch out for the Bulls as title contenders.
This is my personal top 5 most likely to take home the MVP this season. While injuries could shake up this entire list, the top three are more than likely solidified. Some sleepers I have that could rise to the top are Lebron James, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Stephen Curry. They will have to up their play to reach the level of the top 5 this season, but it is definitely possible. This season has already been exciting, and we still have a little under half the season left.