The race for the MVP | Who is « in », who is « out »? | NBA


For ten years, Basket USA offers every Tuesday its Top 5 candidates for the « Most Valuable Player » trophy. A race for the MVP started a month and a half ago, or about 20 matches. This is the opportunity to draw a first assessment of the favorites, the outsiders, and those already discarded …

It’s cruel but at the end of November, superstars already seem out of the race for the MVP trophy. We think of Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, to whom the injuries of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr have dealt a big blow to his ambitions for a double but also for a title. Without him, the Nuggets would no doubt fight with the Rockets and the Thunder at the bottom of the standings, as evidenced by the six straight losses. But Jokic, as strong as he is, will have a hard time securing the double if Denver does not come close to the podium.

On the Lakers’ side, LeBron James and Anthony Davis also seem out of the race for the MVP. Both because their performances are not dazzling, but also and above all because the Lakers missed their start to the season. By going for Russell Westbrook, a real stats machine, the Lakers have at the same time weighed down the individual ambitions of their two All-Stars. And the collective results do not help.

Nikola Jokic’s runner-up in 2021, Joel Embiid doesn’t have much to be ashamed of, and Philadelphia got off to a very good start. But the Covid has been there, and it has disappeared from radar. Like Jokic, he is deprived of his No. 1 Lieutenant, and like Jokic, he will only be able to return to the race if the Sixers get closer to the top.

Seventh of the votes in 2021, Damian Lillard has clearly regressed, and Portland has not crossed a milestone compared to last season. To a lesser extent, Luka Doncic, 6th in the votes last season, has fallen behind. Maybe both of them, like Jayson Tatum, are paying a high price for a summer at the Olympics.

As for James Harden, he suffers from the presence of Kevin Durant, considered (again) as the best striker in the NBA, but also much more waste in his game. The former conductor of the Rockets loses five balls per game, and he’s never been so clumsy on shots since his rookie season.

DeRozan, Booker and Butler, the underdogs

We have just dismissed three former MVPs, several superstars, and yet the race for the MVP remains exciting with three former winners who could add a crown to their record. They are Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The first should logically be voted Best Player of the Month for the Western Conference. For the second, it will be necessary to reckon with the competition of DeMar DeRozan, the number 1 outsider for this race to the MVP 2022. As for the third, it is gaining momentum and if Milwaukee confirms its current good series, it will be in the discussion until at the end.

We have a major quartet for this first quarter of the competition. Their consistency is remarkable, and the results of their respective formations are an asset to squat the Top 5.

Behind them, it is much more open, and like last season, it will take a Suns player. Finalist in 2021, Phoenix is ​​number 2 in the NBA with a streak of 16 straight wins. Logically, after Chris Paul last season, Devin Booker will be favored by voters. Player of the week in the West, he scores fewer points than last season, but has his best career averages in rebounds, 3-points and interceptions. All while being a “clutch”. With DeMar DeRozan, he’s an underdog that shouldn’t be overlooked if the Suns keep up the same pace.

Among the underdogs, a third back with Jimmy Butler. He is the leader of the Heat, complete and very good defender. It is with Giannis Antetokounmpo, a true « two-way player », and if the Heat wins in regularity, he will have to be reckoned with at the time of the votes.

1 – Stephen Curry (Warriors)
Balance sheet: 18 wins, 2 losses – 1st in the West.
Matches: 19 contested out of 20 possible.
Stats: 28.6 pts, 5.8 reb, 6.8 pds, 1.8 int, 0.5 ctr and 3.3 pdb in 34 min.
Percentages: 47% on shots, 42% on 3-pointers and 94% on throws.

2 – Kevin Durant (Nets)
Balance sheet: 14 wins, 6 losses – 1st in the East.
Matches: 19 contested out of 20 possible.
Stats: 28.6 pts, 7.6 reb, 5.4 pds, 0.7 int, 0.6 ctr and 3.1 pdb in 36 min.
Percentages: 55% on shots, 41% on 3-pointers and 85% on throws.

3 – DeMar DeRozan (Bulls)
Balance sheet: 14 wins, 8 losses – 2nd in the East.
Matches: 20 contested out of 20 possible.
Stats: 25.9 pts, 5.2 reb, 4.2 pds, 1 int, 0.4 ctr and 2.0 pdb in 35 min.
Percentages: 49% on shots, 33% on 3-pointers and 90% on throws.

4 – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
Balance sheet: 13 wins, 8 losses – tied for 3rd in the East
Matches: 20 contested out of 21 possible.
Stats: 27 pts, 11.8 reb, 5.9 pds, 1.1 int, 1.8 ctr and 3.1 pdb in 32 min.
Percentages: 53% on shots, 28% on 3-pointers and 67% on throws.

5 – Devin Booker (Suns)
Balance sheet: 17 wins, 3 losses – 2nd in the West.
Matches: 20 contested out of 20 possible.
Stats: 23.9 pts, 5.1 reb, 4.7 pds, 1 int, 0.4 ctr and 2 pdb in 33 min.
Percentages: 46% on shots, 41% on 3-pointers and 86% on throws.

Notices: Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Jimmy Butler (Heat), Chris Paul (Suns), Luka Doncic (Mavericks), Paul George (Clippers)…

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