NBA MVP Watch: Jan. 21

Story posted January 21, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Max Savitt

As the NBA passes the halfway mark, the playoff race is on, and so is the MVP race. As of now, the race for the NBA MVP award is up for grabs. There are a handful of players thus far this season that have put up MVP numbers and deserve the award.

There have been three players specifically who have stood out among the rest.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo once again has his name in the NBA conversation. Now, with Kevin Durant injured for 4-6 weeks, Giannis can take the driver's seat in the race.

Antetokounmpo is looking like the frontrunner for now because he has averaged 28.6 points per game followed by 11.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.5 blocks. These numbers are video game numbers that put Antetokounmpo in a race of his own.

Antetokounmpo plays elite basketball on both sides of the ball. His defensive ability gives him that edge that separates him from other stars in the NBA.

The Bucks are also playing great basketball as they push for the top spot of the Eastern Conference. If Antetokounmpo can manage to stay healthy and keep his dominance up, he may be the MVP for the third time in four years cementing his name further into history.

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan has been playing at an extreme level. This season has been the year of DeRozan. Whether or not DeRozan wins the MVP, he has stepped up his game tremendously.

DeRozan was a star in Toronto. His success in Toronto has been overlooked since the Kawhi Leonard trade that involved Toronto winning its very first championship. DeRozan has been underappreciated until he joined the Chicago Bulls.

Things have been clicking all year for the first place Bulls with major credit going DeRozan's way. Therefore, DeRozan can very well win this MVP race if he continues to step up for the remainder of the season.

Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP of the NBA is after the hardware again as he continues to dominate the league. Jokic night after night puts up big numbers and has carried the Nuggets thus far this season.

Jokic is leading the Nuggets in every stat and has been a monster on the boards. Jokic is averaging 13.9 rebounds a game which is the highest of his young career.

Jokic has been playing well all year but he is beginning to take things to the next level. He is coming off his best performance of the year against the Clippers where his game-winning assist won them a crucial game.

Jokic had a triple-double consisting of 49 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. Jokic is slowly climbing up the ladder, but if he gets hot now, he can end up with back-to-back high-level MVPs.

Players to watch

Some other players have been playing high-level basketball. If these players get hot they can sneak into the race as well. Some of these players are: 

Stephen Curry
Ja Morant
Joel Embiid
LeBron James
Chris Paul

Max Savitt is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email mrs6929@psu.edu