- Mamadou Tall
Hoops Views NBA MVP Power Rankings
With about eight or so games remaining this season, it is safe to say that the MVP race is close to being decided. From October til March, we've seen several players assume the front-running position in a heavily contested MVP race. What is widely considered a two-man race at this point, let us take a look at all the candidates for this season's MVP race. This is the Hoops Views MVP power rankings.
1. Nikola Jokic
24.9 Pts - 11.8 Rebs - 9.9 Ast - 63.3 FG% - 39% 3P% - 82.3 FT% - 1.3 STL - 0.6 BLK - 31.8 PER
Voter fatigue is a real thing when it comes to NBA awards. Nikola Jokic's bid for a third straight MVP award is unprecedented in the modern NBA. Larry Bird last did so in the 80s. Despite it all, it is hard to deny that Jokic is having another all-time great season. He is averaging a triple-double while carrying his team to the number-one spot in the heavily contested western conference.
Many people say his style of play is boring to watch. Purists can see what he does for his team on the offensive end on a nightly basis. The leading scorer, facilitator, and rebounder on his team, it is safe to say that Jokic is more than valuable to what the Denver Nuggets have done this season. As a center, he is the best passer in the game today. We have never seen anything like him before. The analytics back him, and the eye test back him; the only thing is will the MVP voters back him for a third consecutive MVP season? I know if I had a vote, he would get mine.
2. Joel Embiid
33.3 Pts - 10.2 Rebs - 4.2 Ast - 54.5 FG% - 34.1 3P% - 85.5 FT% - 1.1 STL - 1.7 BLK - 31.7 PER
Joel Embiid at this very moment in time is the favorite to win the MVP award if you ask around. The recent struggles of the Denver Nuggets and the success of Embiid have helped his case tremendously. Already on the verge of winning his second straight scoring title as a center, it is no mistake that many people see him as the MVP. Behind Embiid's leadership and stellar play, the Philadelphia 76ers sit at the third spot in the east (49-24). Defensively Embiid has the upper hand over Jokic. In head-to-head match-ups, Embiid has the upper hand over Jokic. Is this enough to win him his first-ever MVP award despite Jokic's historic season? Many people seem to think so.
The next handful of games will make or break Joel Embiid's case for MVP. During this final stretch of games, Embiid's playing against notable opponents such as the Nuggets (Jokic), Mavericks, Bucks, Celtics, and Heat. The ultimate battle will come on Monday, March 27th, where he will play against Nikola Jokic. Basically, the game for MVP if you ask me. Embiid is a bucket; I expect him to perform at a high level. As of right now, Embiid is a close second behind Jokic. That game on Monday can change that for me.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
31.1 Pts - 11.7 Rebs - 5.6 Ast - 55 FG% - 28.5 3P% - 64.7 FT% - 0.8 STL - 0.8 BLK - 28.8 PER
Another victim of voter fatigue in the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo, sits in the third spot for this season's MVP race. By this point, we all know what to expect from Giannis. His dominance and importance to the Milwaukee Bucks is something we have all been aware of for the past several years. Averaging a career-high in points this season, Giannis has improved his offensive output again.
The only thing that slides him down to third for me is simply that he has missed some games, and in his absence, the Bucks have been able to come away with wins. With his teammate Jrue Holiday getting an all-star nod this season and Brook Lopez having a career season, it is hard to put him above Embiid and Jokic this year. When it comes to voting, Giannis will play a huge role in who wins the MVP believe it or not. However many first or second-place MVP votes he receives when the season is over will help determine who will win.
4. Jayson Tatum
30.1 Pts - 8.9 Rebs - 4.7 Ast - 46 FG% - 34.4 3P% - 85.3 FT% - 1 STL - 0.7 BLK - 23.3 PER
Jayson Tatum started off this season as the frontrunner in the MVP race. So what happened? The Boston Celtics have been struggling since the All-star break, including Tatum. Despite it all, the Celtics sit in second place in the east and second place in the league overall. Tatum is averaging a career-high in points and has been one of the most clutch players in the Association for the first half of the season.
Alongside fellow all-star, Jaylen Brown, Tatum is looking to improve his play and get back the form we saw prior to the All-star break. The Celtics have been blowing leads and showcasing poor execution in crunch time. Due to these struggles his bid for MVP is pretty much over, so his focus should shift to dominating the playoffs.
5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
31.3 Pts - 4.8 Rebs - 5.5 Ast - 51 FG% - 35.3 3P% - 90.5 FT% - 1.7 STL - 1 BLK - 27.2 PER
This pick and spot might be surprising, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has earned the fifth spot on the Hoops Views MVP power rankings. Despite taking a gigantic leap in his play last season, it seems like SGA has been able to raise his game even more in just a season's time. He was averaging a career-high in points and was a first-time all-star this season. His efficiency is awe-inspiring, and his ability to score the ball and control the pace of the game is insane at such a young age (24 years old). What he has been able to do for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season is wild to watch.
The Thunder are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 23.14. Despite the youth and inexperience of his squad, SGA has them sitting at10th in a play-in spot just three games behind the sixth-seed Golden State Warriors. These next few games will mean everything to the Thunder's playoff hopes. Before the start of this season, everyone saw the Thunder as a rebuilding franchise full of young talent, fast forward to today and they look like a serious threat to make the playoffs, all behind the leadership and play of SGA.
6. Luka Doncic
32.9 Pts - 8.6 Rebs - 8.2 Ast - 49.9 FG% - 34.3 3P% - 73.5 FT% - 1.4 STL - 0.5 BLK - 29.2 PER
Prior to the season, Vegas had Luka as the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award. Shit, so did I. It hurts to see what Luka's great individual season has been reduced to. As I write this, the Dallas Mavericks are not in the play-in tournament and sit at the 11th spot in the west. Even though Luka is an offensive superstar, basketball isn't played on only one side. His lackluster defense is starting to hurt the Mavs, and it's evident in their standings and struggles as of late.
With Kyrie Irving as his new co-star, I expect to see Mavericks in the playoffs when it is all said and done. In order to get there Luka has to step his game up on the defensive end. At least show some more effort. The moment he entered the league, we knew he was a bucket. He has to raise his game and start guarding, especially for these last nine games or so.