Current MVP Power Rankings: Part Two
With the NCAA tournament going on, the NBA season is slowly churning toward the finish of their regular season. With that, also comes to a step closer to settling this year’s exciting MVP race. Since the last MVP Power Rankings article, much has changed. While a few names are still in the race, a few have dropped out since last time. LeBron James and Joel Embiid are now sidelined for the foreseeable future which opens up the door for other players. With that in mind, these two will not be included in this piece. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at our top five MVP candidates as they stand today.
MVP Power Rankings: Part Two
#1: The Joker
Nikola Jokic has seen his name pop in and out of this number one position throughout the season. Much of that has to do with the inconsistency of his team. However, it seems as if this award is his to lose now with his biggest competition being out for an extended time. Barring a massive collapse from his team or another player going historically nuclear to end the regular season, Jokic is the favorite to win the award.
So far in the year, he is putting up totals of 27.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while averaging a true shooting percentage of 65.0 percent. Incredible numbers all-around to say the least. However, he is going to have to will the Nuggets to a higher seed if he wants to keep his current MVP favorite status.
Damian Lillard has simply been outstanding this season. He has carried over his momentum from the Bubble last year and has single-handedly made the Portland Trail Blazers one of the pleasant surprises of the year. He has arguably been the best clutch player this year while his co-star, CJ McCollum, has missed an extended period of time. With that, his second-best player much of the time has been Carmelo Anthony who is also having himself a nice season.
Lillard has the Trail Blazers in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture. In the meantime, the six-time All-Star is tallying 30.3 points, 7.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game while shooting a true shooting percentage of 63.0 percent. If Dame can keep up this insane level of play, he very well could usurp Jokic as the favorite in the MVP power rankings.
#3: The Greek Freak
Next, we have the reigning two-time MVP. Whether it is right or wrong, voter fatigue is going to impede Giannis Antetokounmpo and his case for a third MVP. Still, he has Milwaukee near the top of the Eastern Conference and is once again putting up insane stats, even with the addition of Jrue Holiday. So far this season, Giannis is averaging 29.0 points, 6.4 assists, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game to go along with a true shooting percentage of 62.7 percent. He has a tough road ahead to get past teams in the East such as Brooklyn and Philadelphia, but if he can lead the Bucks to an upset over one of these teams in the playoffs, suddenly the MVP race could get a lot closer.
#4: The Claw
Kawhi Leonard is having a solid season in a quiet, Kawhi-like fashion. The Los Angeles Clippers are near the top of the Western Conference and Kawhi has actually played 35 games this season. So, he has missed time, but it seems as if he is not load managing as much as the past couple of years which has always been the big knock on any MVP case he may have had. On the season, Leonard is averaging totals of 26.0 points, 4.9 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Not to mention, he is also tallying a true shooting percentage of 61.7 percent. If the Clippers can climb a couple more spots in the standings, Kawhi could be a dark horse MVP candidate.
#5: Jimmy Buckets
Jimmy Butler has proven again that he is a top-10 player in this league. After missing a bit of time this year, Butler has returned and willed the Heat back into the playoff picture. Only a handful of players in this league have the ability to do that. He and Bam Adebayo have become one of the most surprising and effective duos in this league. Butler is averaging 21.6 points, 7.5 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game to couple with a true shooting percentage of 58.7 percent. The Heat are only a year removed from an NBA Finals appearance and Butler is doing all he can to get Miami back to the championship round. One thing has become clear, never bet against Jimmy Butler.
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