We are almost a month into the 2020-21 NBA season, and no one has separated themselves from the pack quite yet. All the regulars are around the top of the leaderboards yet again. The biggest surprise so far is Zach Lavine being 4th in the league in scoring at 28.3 ppg.
This article is going to give you the top 5 candidates for the MVP based on a harsh overreaction from the first month of the season. It will also include their live-odds and why you should or shouldn't bet on them to take home the league's most prestigious award.
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks, 6-5) 27.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 8.8 apg.
Live odds to win MVP: +480
The Mavericks ended last season in the playoffs will Luka making a name for himself on a big stage, without Kristaps Porzingis. He started this season the same way, as Porzingis was out with injury yet again. Luka was able to keep the Mavs around a .500 record until Porzingis returned this past week. If Dallas can end the season with a top-4 seed in the grueling Western Conference, Luka will have a real chance to win MVP. +480 is great value for a new face of the league. As much as we would love the award to go to truly the most valuable player, it rarely does. If that were the case Lebron would win every year. The league also doesn't want Giannis to win it for a third straight year, especially after people were disappointed with the decision last year. Luka would be a perfect young superstar to win the MVP in just his 3rd season and take over the league as Lebron finally winds down his career.
2. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets, 6-6) 24.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 10.4 apg
Live odds to win MVP: +950
This graphic had to be shown. Shockingly it isn't being shown across ESPN and every Nuggets game that is on TV. Thanks to Statmuse.com for putting it together. These are the highest assist per game seasons for centers in NBA History. Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Nikola Jokic. Anytime a record of Wilt's is broken there should be alarms sounded. Not only that, but the Nuggets are 6-6 after starting the season 1-4. If they can skyrocket to a top-4 seed in the West, Jokic will be a serious candidate to win. If they stay hovering around .500 he won't be in the running. Even though he will be the 3rd player to average a triple-double (Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson) that doesn't guarantee him the win. He has already cemented himself as the best passing big man of all time, and he's only 25 years old. The value of +950 is almost too good to pass up.
3. Lebron James (Los Angeles Lakers, 11-3) 24.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 7.7 apg
Live odds to win MVP: +1100
Just like Mike Trout every year in the MLB, Lebron should win MVP every year. Year in and year out he is the best player in the NBA. No one disputes that. So why doesn't he win it every year? The league and the media love a new narrative. The Greek Freak was the latest, but after last year's controversial win, and the Lakers finals win, it might be time for Lebron to win his 5th MVP. He hasn't won the award since 2013, even though he has led his team to the Finals every year except 2019. It just feels like he is due to maybe win his last MVP. If the Lakers stay at the top of the Western Conference standings, and hover around 60 wins in the 72-game season, it will be hard for the media to snub him from this year's award.
4. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets, 8-6) 30.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.7 apg, 54.8 FG%
Live odds to win MVP: +700
From one super team another. KD is finding ways for people to keep hating him. Well, let them keep hating. He is going to find his way to another NBA Finals against Lebron James if the stars align correctly. With James Harden and Kyrie Irving alongside, these Nets should win most regular season games. Once Irving returns from his hiatus, KD's stats might decline a little. With Harden on the team now, it could be hard to give MVP to any 3 of their superstars. They are going to need to share the ball, but KD is the best at playing off the ball of those 3. If he can continue to average over 30 ppg while shooting nearly 55% from the field, he will be top 3 in MVP voting. Pretty astounding considering he is coming off of a major injury.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, 9-4) 26.6 ppg, 10 rpg, 5.2 apg
Live odds to win MVP: +600
The only reason he is low on the list is because this season has been a little less impressive than the last 2. Winning 3 MVP's in a row is almost an impossible feat to accomplish (Larry Bird 1984-86 is the last to do it). Any other players averaging 26/10/5 would probably be higher on the list and be a favorite to win, but since defenses are all focused on Giannis the game has become a little bit harder. With Jrue Holiday running a bit more of the offense his assist numbers are down. He is trying to focus less on asserting himself and trying to run offense with the team to prepare for the playoffs where he has struggled. His goal is not to win an MVP is it to win a championship. If he was truly trying to win MVP his stats wouldn't decline. For Bucks fans, this should be a good sign. They are still at the top of the Eastern Conference and the supporting cast are finding their role. Giannis would need to go on a never-before-seen run to win the MVP this year.