We’ve passed the halfway mark of the NBA season, and there are likely to be plenty more twists and turns as far as the battle to make the playoffs and title aspirations are concerned.
But the conversation for the MVP (Most Valued Player) race is heating up, and there are a few usual suspects that are stirring the debate.
The NBA recently designed six new individual trophies, and the Michael Jordan trophy will be presented to the MVP.
But who will walk away with the glittering accolade? We have given an overview of the MVP runners and riders, explored their campaigns to date, and discussed their chances of success.
Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Once again, Nikola Jokic has been a beast on the floor for the Denver Nuggets, and he’s not a player who is overly obsessed with his stats. Nevertheless, his stats stack up and make for impressive reading — he’s currently averaging just shy of 25 points per game, and he is aiming to become just the fourth NBA star to achieve a three-peat for MVP wins.
Following in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Larry Bird would be no mean feat. Since the MVP made its debut in the 1955/56 season, there have been 14 instances where a player has lifted the accolade in back-to-back campaigns. Recently, Jokic made history by becoming the first player in NBA history to record a 15-plus assist triple-double with no missed field goals.
The case for Jokic to be crowned MVP appears to be growing stronger, and it is always a prize that generates plenty of debate. Bookmakers are always quick to release odds, and a cursory glance at some of the top new Australian betting sites listed would suggest there is backing for Jokic. Indeed, PlayUp has installed Jokic as the favorite to lift the trophy as he is trading at a short EVENS to do so.
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Luka Doncic has firmly placed himself in the MVP conversation, and the Dallas Mavericks star has been tearing things up on the floor. And one of his most memorable performances to date this season came against the LA Lakers.
He produced a few stunning stepback 3-pointers in the 119-115 victory, and aside from contributing 35 points, he also weighed in with 14 rebounds and 13 assists, and he was a dominant figure. The Mavericks’ form has wavered over the past few weeks, but you wonder where they would be without Doncic.
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
An instrumental part of the Boston Celtics roster is the redoubtable Jayson Tatum. He has the ability to amaze with the way he drifts past defenders as if they aren’t there, and he is always prepared to sacrifice himself on the floor.
The Celtics have been in terrific form, and at the time of writing, they had racked up six victories on the trot. With over 29 points averaged per game, Tatum could be key if the Celtics are going to go all the way in the playoffs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Hoping to break Jokic’s vice-like grip on the MVP trophy will be Giannis Antetokounmpo. The ‘Greek Freak’ is accustomed to MVP success, having clinched the trophy in 2019 and 2020. Although he recently sat out of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 108-102 defeat to the Miami Heat, Antetokounmpo has strung together some big-scoring displays, and is averaging 31 points per game. You wouldn’t want to discount him!