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MVP Favorites If The NBA Season Ended Today

The 2023-2024 NBA season is almost at the halfway mark but there is still no clear-cut answer as to who would win the Most Valuable Player. This development benefits NBA enthusiasts by ensuring yet another engaging experience, fostering an active involvement in the MVP race, and consistently heightening the excitement surrounding the stakes involved.


Can Joel Embiid Win Two In A Row?

As of December 28, 2023, Joel Embiid is seated at the number one spot in the MVP race. Embiid is averaging a league-best 35.1 points per game with unbelievable efficiency while shooting almost 90% from the free throw line. He is also averaging 11.8 rebounds and almost six assists. That makes this season the best passing season in his career. With two blocks, a steal, and two 50-point games under his belt, Embiid is the frontrunner so far. His case only further improves if the team moves up from the three seed.


There are two knocks on Embiid this season. One is voting fatigue, which has plagued the voter`s minds for the last decade. If someone is the best player in the league two years in a row, then they should be awarded for it. Voters need to admire and appreciate greatness, not get tired of it. The perfect example is Lebron James. Voters also need to remove the notion of voting fatigue as it swelters players' accomplishments and even causes them to lose money in some cases.


Another bump in the road for Embiid`s MVP candidacy is how much his work actually matters. Embiid has barely played in the fourth quarter this season, totaling around only 96 minutes. This is a minuscule number of minutes compared to other MVP candidates like Giannis Antetokounmpo with 213 and Nikola Jokic with 173. The rationale for the lack of fourth-quarter Embiid minutes is that the Philadelphia 76ers are blowing teams out which means he does not have to play. Some voters, media personalities, and fans express skepticism regarding the legitimacy of Embiid's MVP case, contending that the limited playing time during crucial moments, especially in the fourth quarter, may undermine the comprehensive assessment of his impact due to the perceived lack of competitive pressure in these games.

Will Nikola Jokic Reclaim His Throne As MVP?

Nikola Jokic has spent the last four years as arguably the best player in the NBA according to the advanced stats nerds. Jokic is currently averaging 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. He is just a few ten assist games shy of averaging a triple double. Unfortunately, triple doubles are not impressive anymore since Russell Westbrook`s MVP season. Which is why the odds are not in Jokic`s favor to win. The aforementioned voter fatigue is also plaguing Jokic`s greatness.


A post championship slump is also attributing to Jokic`s MVP odds. The Denver Nuggets are currently sitting at the three seed in the Western Conference behind the number one seed Minnesota Timberwolves and the number two seed Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets have also dealt with slight roster changes like losing Bruce Brown Jr in free agency to the Indiana Pacers and injuries to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray. One might expect Jokic to climb in the MVP rankings as he will be presented with a larger workload.



Will This Be The Year That A Wildcard Wins MVP?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum are the four players behind the league`s best two centers. Out of all four players, Giannis has the best chance to reclaim his throne by winning another MVP award. The Milwaukee Bucks have one of the best records in the league at 23-8. So far, Antetokounmpo is also having his best season two-point percentage wise. But the voters will use this against him because the addition of Damian Lillard's spacing.


Last season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished in fifth place in MVP voting. This year he is sitting at third place with illustrious averages of 31 points, six and a half assists, almost six rebounds and a career high 2.8 steals. He is one of the league's best defenders. He has led the Thunder to an impressive number two seed in a stacked Western Conference. What diminishes his case for MVP is the team that he plays for. Voters are going to be hesitant to put the Kentucky guard as number one because they are simply more invested in the other candidates. It will take maybe another season of this level of play for Alexander to get more serious buzz as an actual MVP candidate.


Luka Doncic has probably cooked your favorite player and is arguably the most skilled player in the league. He is this generation`s best offensive prober and knows how to win. Woefully, he is a victim of his own success. Since he came into the league, he has led the Dallas Mavericks to a sufficient record year after year. So much so that the Mavericks never really had the chance to pair him with another high draft pick due to their record and lottery luck. The Mavericks have tried to rush their process to the top by acquiring and developing talents such as Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson. Regular season wise, the Dallas Mavericks have not once been at the top of their conference.


Doncic is averaging the league`s second most points per game at 33 behind Joel Embiid with eight rebounds and nine assists. Currently, the Mavericks are at the six seed in the west with little to no wiggle room to rise or drop. If Doncic can increase his team`s standings, then there is no reason why for him to win MVP this season. He has regularly showed what he is capable of come playoff time.


Last but not least is Jayson Tatum. The Boston Celtics have the best record in the league, and they are spear headed by the 25-year-old from Duke. However, the voters will not recognize his 27 points, eight and a half rebounds, and four assists worthy of an MVP award. The Celtic`s playstyle is reminiscent of the 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs who won the championship that season by committee. Tatum`s workload is not anywhere close to the other MVP candidates because of team depth.


As the NBA season charges toward its halfway mark, the MVP race is an electrifying whirlwind of talent and debate. Joel Embiid's dominance is undeniable, boasting staggering stats and an undeniable impact, yet the specter of voting fatigue and limited fourth-quarter play haunts his bid for consecutive MVP titles. Nikola Jokic, a perennial force, battles both voter weariness and a post-championship slump, striving to reignite his claim to the throne despite Denver's hurdles. Meanwhile, a cadre of extraordinary talents such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum vie for recognition, their stellar performances tempered by team dynamics and narratives.


The MVP conversation isn't solely about on-court prowess; it's also a reflection of narrative, team success, and, at times, popularity. While statistical brilliance and impact matter, the MVP award can tilt towards the player with the most compelling storyline or within the most successful team, emphasizing the subjective nature that occasionally turns the accolade into a captivating, if contentious, popularity contest.

 

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