NBA MVP Watch: Feb. 17
With the NBA season reaching the all-star break this weekend, the MVP talk is starting to heat up as it means the season is nearing the end.
The NBA MVP ladder has Nikola Jokic in first with Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Paul and Stephen Curry.
Jokic is averaging 26 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.3 steals a game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from deep. His 13.8 rebounds are second to only Rudy Gobert’s 14.8.
Without Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets are sixth in the western conference at 33-25 Without Jokic, the team is 1-5 while scoring 103.2 points a game. In 51 games that Jokic has played, the Nuggets have scored 110.7 points a game.
In 45 games, Embiid has averaged a second-best 29.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 blocks, and one steal a game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. The 29.5 points and 4.5 assists are currently career highs.
Without Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers are fifth in the eastern conference at 34-23. The team is 30-15 in games Embiid has played in. They are 4-8 in games he hasn’t played. With James Harden traded to the team, Embiid’s numbers could be impacted.
Antetokoumpo is averaging a league-leading 29.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, six assists, and 1.4 blocks a game while shooting 54.7 percent from the field. His six assists are a career-high and the 29.4 points a game is just .1 points below his career-high during his 2020 MVP season of 29.5 points.
The Milwaukee Bucks are third in the eastern conference at 36-23. The team is 31-17 in games Antetokoumpo has played.
Paul at age 37 has continued to define age. He has played all 57 games and the Phoenix Suns are a league-best 48-10. He is averaging 10.7 assists a game, which leads the league. That’s to go with 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 steals a game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field.
The last time Curry was first in the MVP race was on Dec. 24. On the season, he’s averaging 25.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.4 steals a game. He’s 11th in the NBA in defensive rating at 105.8. His contributions have helped the Warriors to the second seed in the western conference at 42-17.
However, Curry’s 42.7 percent shooting from the field and 38.1% from three are the lowest of his career. In 27 games between December and January, Curry shot 39.4 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three.
A dark horse candidate for MVP is Demar DeRozan. DeRozan is currently averaging 28.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on 51.7% shooting from the field. Despite missing Zach Lavine for 12 games, Lonzo Ball for 24 games and Alex Caruso for 31 games, the Chicago Bulls are first in the eastern conference at 38-21.
Timothy Lonas is a third-year majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Print/Digital Journalism
Timothy Lonas is a third-year student from Johnstown, PA, and is majoring in print/digital journalism. At Penn State, Timothy contributes articles along with participating in podcasts with other members for COMM Radio. He is also a part of the sports section for the Daily Collegian, a student-run newspaper at Penn State. Since last May, Timothy has written one to two articles a week for Backseat Coach, a start-up virtual sports outlet.