NBA MVP Race: Beyond Steph Curry – Jokic, Embiid, Morant, Greek Freak

Steph Curry Leads MVP Race, but Competition is Fierce

As the NBA season reaches its midpoint, the race for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is heating up. Currently, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the frontrunner, with +180 odds to win the prestigious title. However, he faces tough competition from players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Ja Morant, all vying for the MVP crown.

The Rise of Curry

At the beginning of the season, Kevin Durant was the favorite to win MVP with +400 odds. However, Curry’s outstanding performance and the Golden State Warriors’ strong start to the season propelled him to the top spot on the prop betting board. Curry’s incredible shooting and leadership skills have been instrumental in the Warriors’ success, earning him the favor of both fans and oddsmakers.

MVP Contenders: Jokic, Greek Freak, Embiid

While Curry may be the current frontrunner, contenders like Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid are not far behind.

Jokic: The Reigning MVP

Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP from the Denver Nuggets, started the season as the fifth betting favorite with +1500 odds. However, his recent outstanding performances have significantly improved his MVP prospects. Jokic has recorded four consecutive triple-doubles, including a remarkable 49-point triple-double in an overtime win against the LA Clippers. With impressive statistics across the board, averaging 25.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, Jokic is firmly in the MVP conversation. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 33.46 is the best in the NBA, further solidifying his status as a top contender.

Greek Freak: Back-to-Back MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the Greek Freak, won the MVP title in both 2019 and 2020. However, he did not capture a championship until last season when Jokic claimed the MVP award. Antetokounmpo’s remarkable scoring ability, averaging 28.6 points per game (third best in the NBA), combined with his solid rebounding and playmaking skills, make him a formidable MVP candidate. With a PER rating of 31.27 (third best in the league), Antetokounmpo’s odds have improved from +650 to +250 since early November.

Embiid: Dominant Performance

Joel Embiid, playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, is also making a strong case for MVP. With an impressive scoring average of 29.4 points per game, Embiid ranks fourth in the NBA. Additionally, he contributes 10.6 rebounds per game and boasts a remarkable PER rating of 31.31, second only to Jokic. Embiid’s recent performances, including a 50-point game in just 27 minutes of action, have propelled him into the MVP discussion. His odds have seen a significant improvement from +1500 to +600 in the past week.

Curry’s Slump and Resilience

Despite his current shooting slump, which is the worst of his career, Curry remains the favorite for the MVP title with +180 odds.

Curry’s shooting struggles have persisted for several weeks, coinciding with his pursuit of Ray Allen’s all-time three-point record. However, his determination to constantly improve and his ability to come through in crucial moments are what sets him apart. Even in the midst of his slump, Curry hit a game-winning buzzer beater against the Houston Rockets, showcasing his unwavering competitive spirit.

Although his scoring average has dipped to 21.6 points per game during his January slump, Curry still maintains impressive overall averages of 26.3 points and 6.2 assists per game this season. In the months leading up to his slump, Curry consistently performed at a high level, with scoring averages of 27.6 ppg (December), 27.4 ppg (November), and 28.7 ppg (October).

Rising Star: Ja Morant’s MVP Campaign

While Curry, Jokic, Antetokounmpo, and Embiid are the frontrunners, Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies has emerged as a dark horse candidate for MVP.

Morant’s exceptional performance during the first half of the season led us to declare him our MVP pick. Following our assessment, Morant’s odds significantly improved from +2200 to +1000, reflecting the recognition of his outstanding play.

Morant has been a key contributor to the Memphis Grizzlies’ success, with averages of 25.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game. His PER rating of 25.10 is an impressive feat for a guard, ranking him ninth in the NBA. As the Grizzlies continue to climb in the Western Conference standings, Morant’s impact becomes more evident.

Recently, Morant has been on fire, scoring at least 33 points in back-to-back games. His standout performance includes a 38-point game against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

Conclusion

The race for the NBA MVP title is heating up, with Steph Curry leading the way. However, there is no shortage of worthy contenders, such as Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Ja Morant, who are all striving to claim the prestigious award. Curry’s shooting slump may have raised some doubts, but his resilience and track record of excellence make him a formidable candidate. As the season progresses, it will be intriguing to see which player rises above the competition to become the league’s most valuable player.

FAQs

1. Can a player win the MVP award without leading their team to a championship?

Yes, it is possible for a player to win the MVP award without leading their team to a championship. The MVP award focuses on individual performance and overall impact on the game rather than team success.

2. Are there any rookie players in contention for the MVP award this season?

While rookies can make a significant impact on their teams, it is rare for a rookie player to be considered a serious contender for the MVP award. The award typically goes to more established players who have consistently performed at a high level throughout the season.

3. Do players from small-market teams have a disadvantage in the MVP race?

Historically, players from larger-market teams have had an advantage in the MVP race due to increased media coverage and exposure. However, recent years have seen a shift towards recognizing deserving players from small-market teams based on their individual performance and impact on the game.

4. Has any player won the MVP award multiple times in a row?

Yes, several players have won the MVP award multiple times in a row. Notable examples include LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Michael Jordan, who have each won the award in consecutive seasons.

5. Can a player win the MVP award if they miss a significant portion of the season due to injury?

While it is unlikely for a player to win the MVP award if they miss a significant portion of the season due to injury, it is not impossible. If the player’s impact on the game and their team’s success prior to the injury was substantial enough, they may still be considered a strong candidate for the award.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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