With the All-Star break ending on Thursday, the MVP race/rankings are holding steady. With plenty of season left, there is time for changes to happen and for players to move up the MVP race ladder. That being said, let’s break down the top three names that sit atop the MVP race rankings before the second half of the season begins.
1.) Nikola Jokic– Denver Nuggets
Call me crazy but I think Jokic is in a prime position to walk away with his second consecutive MVP. Jokic is currently running a stat line of 26 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists. Jokic is doing it all for Denver and keeping them in the playoff race. With point guard Jamal Murray still sidelined, Jokic needed another MVP-level season to help Denver.
Jokic has led Denver to a 33-25 record (sixth in the Western Conference) and Denver would love to avoid the play-in tournament. Jokic’s stat line is nearly identical to last season except he is rebounding more now. With a near triple-double in every game, Jokic should be on top of any version of this MVP race. If Jokic and the Nuggets continue to win games and he continues to hold his stat line, this award will end up with Jokic for the second year in a row.
2.) Giannis Antetokounmpo– Milwaukee Bucks
Does it surprise anyone that Giannis is once again near the top of the MVP race? He is the heart and soul of the Bucks and is on a tear yet again. At 29.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists, he is top ten in scoring and rebounds. The Greek Freak has the Bucks at 36-24 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. I do not see this pace slowing down in the second of the season.
If Giannis and the Bucks move up in the East and claim a one seed, then Giannis has another legitimate case for MVP. The stat line is there, now all that needs to happen is winning more games and staying healthy. Giannis has already dealt with injuries this season and any kind of hitch in his progress will diminish his MVP case. Giannis is the soul of the Bucks and the second half of the season will need to be even better for Giannis.
3.) Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
You could move Embiid and Giannis around and switch spots and not be wrong in any way. Embiid had to be angry he did not win MVP last season because he is on a tear this year. At a league best 29.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, Embiid has the 76ers primed for another playoff run. In the last ten games before the All-Star break, Embiid was averaging 32.2 points, 13 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. It is undeniable that Embiid is one of the best players in the NBA right now.
Embiid and the 76ers are sitting in third place at 35-23 overall in the East. With the acquisition of James Harden, the worry could be that Embiid’s production will drop. However, I think Harden won’t affect Embiid’s workload at all and this pace will continue. There is plenty of time for Embiid to get Philly to a one seed and just like Giannis, that would boost his spot in the MVP race. According to Draft Kings, Embiid is the favorite to win MVP but I think he needs to put his team in a better spot in the conference standings.
Agree? Disagree? Comment down below and let me know who you think is leading the MVP race!
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