I’m unsure what triggered this fascination but I am all of a sudden invested (financially and emotionally) in the MVP race for the current NBA season.
I’ve always stuck up for LeBron James and am a firm believer he should have at least 2-3 more MVP gongs but the narrative of the award seems to be a vital part to whom becomes the eventual winner as anything they do on the hardwood.
For a start, the award is voted on by a cast of NBA writers and broadcasters who admittedly do see many many games across a season but also can be drawn into the narrative aspect of the award as much as anyone.
I have no beef with scribes and broadcasters being the determining factor in who wins, I just think it’s important to outline who votes and what may be their motivating factors, even subconciously.
As I said, I am invested in the award with my hard-earned and I’ve been dabbling on Luke Doncic almost every week whilst starting out with a small spec bet on Devin Booker at $41 – that idea has since been binned.
I’ve also had something on Nikola Jokic at inflated odds but I think his chances diminish somewhat from here.
Here are the MVP candidates as I see things (and, full disclosure, I not digesting every single game – not even close)
LUKA DONCIC (Dallas, 27.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 9.9 assists. Mavericks record 8-9)
Everything is in the favour of Doncic except one thing… Dallas are not winning enough ball games.
The Slovenian superstar is just 21-years-old but plays like he’s 31. His game is slow and smooth and always in control. He beats you with his mind and his craftiness more than any athletic traits he may – or may not – have.
He did begin slowly this season but has roared to life of late, including a monster 35-point, 11-rebound, 16-assist triple-double, but, it was in a loss to Denver at home. The 8-9 record for the Mavs is a worry for Doncic’s chances of winning the award.
Only Kareem won the league MVP without his team making the post-season so for Luka’s – and my cash’s – sake the Mavericks need to get rolling at some point.
NIKOLA JOKIC (Denver, 25.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, 9.3 assists, Nuggets record 10-7)
In a locker room conversation with NBA devotee Mark Blicavs, we identified Jokic as a MVP smoky. At the time he was $34 and we both agreed he had a slight chance of putting himself into the mix.
Our views were more about the lack of storylines suiting the more obvious choices which always seems to be an important ingredient.
Well, The Joker has started in ripping fashion and his odds have been slashed to $7.50.
He’s no longer leading the NBA in assists (he’s 2nd) and I think that diminishes his chances significantly. Had a 7-0″ centre from Serbia led the NBA is dimes then I think you can mount the major case for him to win the award.
Instead, his assist rate has dropped from north of 11 per to just above nine per and any more drop off will see those odds being to lengthen again.
Denver also need to ensure they’re winning games to keep Jokic’s name up in lights.
LeBRON JAMES (Lakers, 25.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.4 assists, Lakers 14-4 record)
The Kings has a few things in his favour when considering the nominees for the MVP.
His team is 14-4 and Anthony Davis is only averaging 21 and many expected James to crawl to the start line of this season after scorching his way to an NBA Bubble Championship just a few months ago.
Instead, the super-human point-forward has played every game and is doing whatever needs to be done on each given night to ensure the Lake Show are a force.
His 3-point shooting has exploded (41%) and should he keep that accuracy up the writers will have another piece to add to their story about why James should win MVP in his 18th season at age 36.
Sure, LeBron’s numbers are actually down but such is his greatness, we all knew how eager he was to lead the league is assists last season but now he’s just owning basketball games whenever suits, like today when he unloaded 46 on the Cavaliers including a 21-point fourth quarter explosion after a Cavs staffer laughed at one of his missed shots.
King James is really warming to the task of collecting a fifth NBA MVP!
MAYBE, MAYBE NOT;
Steph Curry – most exciting player I’ve ever seen who cannot dunk. But, Warriors will lose too many.
Brad Beal – everyone will overlook him but 34 per is 34 per plus he’s shooting 49% and grabbing 5.5 boards.
Kevin Durant – huge chance should he average 30 coming off the Achilles. Two superstar team mates hurts.
Dame Lillard – almost 30 per and 7 dimes. Needs more love but definitely amongst tier two contenders.
Joel Embiid – many folks pushing his case but 27 and 11 has been done before. Injuries worry me.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – have I spelled that correctly? 27 & 10 @ 54% is legit but he’s got no hope.
Kawhi Leonard – 25-5-5 will just not launch him into the conversation.
Trae Young – get those points back up from 25 per to close to 28 per and he’s a smokers smoky.
Agree, disagree, like, love, dislike (hate’s too strong)… lemme know before it’s time to lock back in on The GOAT Super Bowl.