NBA MVP Watch: Mar. 17
It is often debated whether the NBA’s MVP award should be given to the best player in that league year or the player that has been the most valuable to his team.
This season, the frontrunners for the award meet both criteria, making it one of the tougher selections in recent memory.
As the season is winding down, here’s a look at the case for each of the four frontrunners to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
Coming off an MVP season where he averaged 26.4 points, 8.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds, Jokic has continued his dominant play in the 2021-2022 season.
The Serbian big man is essentially matching these stats with 26 points per game and 8.1 assists, but he is now averaging 3 more rebounds per game with 13.8.
Jokic is also shooting better from the field with a 57.2 percent this season compared to his 56.6 percent last season.
On top of these impressive stats, Jokic is leading the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs as they currently hold the sixth seed in the Western Conference. He has also been doing this without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter for most of the season.
Embiid has been due for serious MVP consideration for the past few seasons. He consistently leads the 76ers to a top seed in the East with his all-around dominant game.
The sixth-year center is currently leading the entire NBA in points per game with 29.9 while also sitting at eighth in rebounds per game with 11.3.
Couple this offense with Embiid’s elite defense and rim protection and you’ve got yourself one of the most dominant big men the league has seen in recent memory.
These are not empty stats, however, as his play has led to winning with the 76ers holding the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 42-26 all while dealing with the Ben Simmons drama and plenty of roster shuffling.
While Embiid holds the league lead in points per game as of now, the Greek Freak is right behind him in the race with 29.7 while also averaging more rebounds and assists with 11.5 and 5.9 respectively.
Antetokounmpo is also doing this more efficiently on the offensive end with 54.8 percent shooting compared to Embiid’s 48.5 percent.
The Milwaukee forward even manages to outshine Embiid on the defensive end, as he is the current frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Antetokounmpo also has the Bucks sitting just ahead of the 76ers in the standings, but he has had much more help from his supporting cast with his teammates being Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday while Embiid has helped elevate Tyrese Maxey’s game and deal with Tobias Harris’s down year until the recent trade for James Harden.
Since joining the Bulls, DeRozan has transformed them into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference for the first time since the Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah era in Chicago.
DeRozan embodies the title of “Most Valuable” as this Chicago Bulls team would not be nearly as good without him, already increasing their win total from last season by 10 victories with plenty of games left to be played.
The star forward is behind both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid in points per game, but he is still scoring a more than respectable 28 points per game.
While he might not be as flashy of a name as the other three candidates, Demar DeRozan can’t be overlooked for the MVP award, as his case is as good if not better than anyone else’s.
Jakob Schnur is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
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Second-Year / Broadcast Journalism