The NBA MVP race is coming down to the final week of the season, and we are still in the thick of a three-man race. Is there going to be a fourth three-peat with Nikola Jokic winning again after averaging nearly a triple-double for the best team in the West?
Will It be Giannis Antetokounmpo winning his third award in his career, and cementing himself as a top 10 player of all time? Or will it be the breakthrough for Joel Embiid, who is leading the NBA in scoring as the most overpowering big we have seen since Shaq? Strange that in the age of “positionless” 3-point dominant basketball, the three MVP candidates are all 7-footers.
1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Season stats: 24.9 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 9.9 apg
Jokic is looking like the top candidate for the award for the third year in a row. A match-up last week against the 76ers looked to be a showdown for the award, but Joel Embiid sat out with calf tightness.
That may have pushed Jokic just passed Embiid. They are close to locking up the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Since the All-Star Break, Jokic has increased his scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage. Far and away the worst defender of the three, but how he controls the offensive side of the floor is something to behold.
NBA MVP Ladder
|Nikola Jokic||Joel Embiid||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|24.8 ppg||33.5 ppg||31.2 ppg|
|11.9 rpg||10.2 rpg||11.9 rpg|
|9.9 apg||4.1 apg||5.5 apg|
2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Season stats: 33.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.2 apg
After sitting out the late-season showdown with the Nuggets and Jokic due to a tight calf, Embiid put 25 and 9 up on the disaster Mavericks. That marked the 56th game this season that Embiid has reached the 25-point mark.
The sixers are almost locked into the 3 seed in the East, and with his health history, Embiid may sit another game to close out the year. If so, that may be the nail in his coffin. If he has a couple of massive games, he could take this crown. Voter fatigue is real… Does Jokic deserve to be the fourth guy to ever win 3 straight MVPs? Something that many of the greatest of all time haven’t done?
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Season stats: 31.2 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 5.5 apg
Does playing in Milwaukee cause us to kind of forget about Giannis being the best player in the world at times? He is averaging 31 points, 12 rebounds, and over 5 assists, and he is sitting at the 3 in the MVP?
Against the pacers this week, Jrue Holiday had 51 points, but Giannis had 38, 17, and 12, and there was not much talk about Giannis because that is expected from him. He is getting to Lebron’s levels of acceptance of his greatness. If he doesn’t have 50, we think that is just what he is supposed to do…
Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid are currently tied as the favorites to win NBA MVP 👀🏆 pic.twitter.com/3gBQRzZdHH
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 28, 2023
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| Title: NBA MVP Ladder
| Author: Matt Catton
| Date: April 4, 2023