NBA MVP Watch: James’ Injury, Lillard’s Ascension
The NBA Most Valuable Player odds have shifted drastically. Injuries to LeBron James and Joel Embid have opened the door for other candidates like Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Just a few weeks ago James and Embiid were favorites to win the MVP according to BetMGM. Currently, Jokic sits in the driver's seat with +110 odds with LeBron behind him at +450. Embiid sits at +600.
If it wasn’t for James’ high ankle sprain, Jokic would not be in the prime position he’s in. James’ odds were +160 one week ago, but have plummeted since then.
At the beginning of the 2021 NBA season, Luka Doncic was the odds-on favorite to win the MVP title. After a 9-14 start to the regular season for the Mavericks, Doncic’s odds fell behind James Harden, Damian Lillard, and Antetokounmpo.
The Mavericks now sit in the seventh spot in the Western Conference, and if Doncic continues to dominate as he has as of late, don’t sleep on him to make a late MVP surge.
The “joker,” however, is a safe pick for MVP, and rightfully so. In the past ten games, Jokic has averaged 27.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 9.3 assists.
If the Nuggets (25-17) keep winning and Jokic keeps racking up triple doubles, this race will soon be over. If not, the door is wide open for Lillard.
Lillard has continued to put the NBA on notice with his clutch late-game heroics. If he wants to win his first-ever MVP, the Blazers will have to win more games than the Nuggets.
Lillard won’t win MVP if the Blazers enter the playoffs in the sixth or seventh slot. Jokic is the best passing big in the Association, averaging 8.6 per game.
If Jokic can continue to put up crazy stat lines along with a top-four finish in the West, the MVP trophy will be his.
Charlie Lebowitz is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org