Who is the front runner for MVP?
By: Caleb Holfolth
With less than a month in the season who is the front runner to win MVP.
This seasons MVP race has not been as close as in years past leaving the door open for a couple of different players to win the award. The most valuable player award which is more of a who is the best player in the league award. Giannis Antetokounmpo has won the past two awards and before that it was James Harden who is not on this list due to missing too much time injured. This list is a rough power ranking of who will win the award and not who the actual most valuable or best player in the league is. Those are separate conversations that will come in the future once the season concludes. Below are the power rankings of the 2021 NBA most valuable player award.
Nikola Jokic (C, Denver Nuggets)
While Nikola Jokic is the favorite to win the award at the moment there is enough time left in the season for him to lose the award to another player. Because it has been an odd season between COVID-19 and the number of injuries to top players it has been hard for players to really be odd on favorites to win the award. However, Jokic has come closest to the favorite all season. Between Jokic performing at an elite level and being very durable this season Jokic certainly is more than deserving of the award. Jokic has been the leader of a Denver Nuggets team that had potential to put up a fight in the western conference finals until starting point guard Jamal Murray went down with a torn ACL. Jokic is averaging 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 8.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 56.8% from the field, 41.1% from three and 85.5% from the free throw line. Jokic is reinventing the center position being able to play the role as the scorer and the playmaker of the offense. Jokic is a stud and has been nearly unstoppable this season for Denver. Scoring double digits in every game Jokic has also been consistent. Jokic is the leading the pack for the MVP race not only because of his extremely strong numbers but his nightly impact for the Nuggets.
Stephen Curry (PG, Golden State Warriors)
Steph Curry is the only reason that Golden State Warriors are in the playoff conversation in the Western Conference. Curry is averaging a career-high 31.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.2 steals per game on 48.9% from the field, 42.8% from three, and 91,8% from the free-throw line. Steph has led the Warriors to currently being the 10 seed with a 31-31 record. That usually would be nothing to celebrate but with Curry’s ability and the new play-in format the Warriors could sneak into the playoffs. Curry is so high on this list because not only is he scoring at the highest rate in his career but he is so valuable to the warriors. Without Curry, the Warriors are easily one of the worst teams in the League. If you need any evidence of that just look at how last season the Warriors ended up with the number one overall pick. Since then, that number one pick James Wiseman has been hurt and the Warriors are still without star guard Klay Thompson. Steph bringing the Warriors from the worst team in the league to a potential playoff team is nothing short of remarkable. In addition to all Curry has accomplished this run of games.
Joel Embiid (C, Philadelphia 76ers)
Joel Embiid has been nothing short of fantastic this season. Averaging 29.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.4 blocks while shooting 51.2% from the field, 37.5% from three, and 85.1% from the free-throw line. While Embiid’s stats are slightly better than Jokic who is number one on this list but has played 19 fewer games than Jokic because of injuries. Embiid has had an extremely strong impact.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF, Milwaukee Bucks)
Chris Paul (PG, Phoenix Suns)
Honorable Mentions: Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard