The NBA truly is where amazing happens. That’s not just a motto. Night after night, we witness the greatest athletes in the world take the hardwood and leave us in awe with the way they play.
Obviously, that makes it so difficult for a player to stand out from his peers. I mean, you can have a solid game every now and then, but not many guys are able to put up a consistent effort through a full season.
Moreover, being the best player on earth is also about helping your team win games, it goes way beyond the stats. That’s why even some of the most renowned basketball connoisseurs have a tough time predicting who’s going to be the MVP of the season.
Year after year, even those who don’t exactly know how to bet on basketball or don't have a clue about NBA betting odds place their hopes - and money - on their favorite candidate. That’s why today, we’re going to give them a hand by letting you know about the top 5 MVP candidates as of now, according to basketball reference.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The reigning MVP cracks the top five but he’s no longer the frontrunner to win the award. Should he take things up a notch, he’d become just the third player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVPs behind Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain.
While that seems unlikely right now - especially with the Milwaukee Bucks struggling to beat contenders - Giannis Antetokounmpo is still putting up impressive numbers, averaging 27.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game, as per ESPN.
4. LeBron James
It’s been a while since LeBron James last finished on top of the MVP race, which is kind of outrageous if you ask me. Whether he’s the MVP or not, he hasn’t stopped being one of the two best players in the world over the past decade, and it's not even close.
Now, entering his 18th season, he’s still leading the Los Angeles Lakers to one of the best records in the league. Thus far, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.8 three-pointers per game on 49% from the floor. Oh, and he’s 36 years old.
3. Kawhi Leonard
For the first time in years, Kawhi Leonard is fully healthy. He’s not managing his loads anymore and is playing in both nights of back-to-backs, which is clearly helping his MVP chances as well as the Los Angeles Clippers’ shot at the first seed in the Western Conference.
We all know what Kawhi can bring to the table. He’s one of the best defenders of all time and his offense continues to expand as the years go by. Right now, he’s averaging 26.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.0 triples per game.
2. Joel Embiid
The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most dominant teams in the NBA through the first third of the season and they have one guy to thank for that: Joel Embiid, who’s having the best year of his career so far. Also, he's been healthy for most of the year.
Embiid has taken his offense to a whole new level and he continues to be a lockdown defender in the paint and the perimeter. Averaging 28.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.3 three-pointers per game, he’s also a candidate to win the DPOY.
1. Nikola Jokic
And, even though not many people thought he’d be leading the MVP race at this point, Nikola Jokic has been the most impressive player of the season. He’s one of the best playmakers in the league despite being a big man and is a walking triple-double threat.
The Denver Nuggets haven’t peaked yet but Jokic is surely playing the best basketball of his career. Right now, he’s averaging 26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 three-pointers per game on 57/38/83 shooting splits.