Nikola Jokic

Comparing the leading contenders for NBA MVP in 2023-24

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With just a handful of games left in the season, the 2024 NBA MVP race seems all but over. Nonetheless, this has been an exciting campaign, and the playoff-seeding race is quite tight, especially in the Western Conference, so there could still be a bit of a surprise in store for us.

Once again, Nikola Jokic sits at the top of NBA MVP contenders, and while oddsmakers give him around a 90% chance of taking the award home, there’s plenty of talent in the league, and multiple players could make a run for his money. With that in mind, we’ll talk about each and every single one of the potential candidates.

5. Jayson Tatum

The Boston Celtics have been the best team in the league by a landslide, so it’s odd to see that Jayson Tatum was never considered a frontrunner for this award. Maybe, the narrative about his playoff shortcomings has taken a big toll on his chances, even though people should only focus on what he’s done this season.

Tatum has been more mature and efficient this season, realizing that he doesn’t need to do everything for his team to win. He’s averaging 27.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, which apparently aren’t MVP-worthy numbers anymore.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

It’s been a while since Giannis Antetokounmpo was considered to be the best player on Earth, but he’s still right near the top. The Greek Freak is a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, and he’s been the main figure behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ late-season turnaround.

       

Throughout the course of the season, he’s posted averages of 30.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game, so his numbers didn’t exactly go down with Damian Lillard on the court. Even so, it seems like people aren’t impressed with what he does anymore.

3. Luka Doncic

Talking about getting used to greatness, it seems like people have normalized the video game-caliber numbers Luka Doncic puts up on a nightly basis. As of now, the former Real Madrid star sits near the top of the MVP ladder with averages of 33.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 9.8 dimes per contest.

The ultimate point forward, Doncic is also putting some effort into defense for a change. The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break, and while he might not be the MVP of the season, Doncic could carry this team to the biggest stage in the playoffs.

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

It’s crazy to think that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had the Oklahoma City Thunder fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for most of the season, yet he might end up losing the MVP award. This team is far ahead of schedule, and a lot of that has had to do with his stellar play on both ends of the floor.

The Canadian guard has posted Michael Jordan-like numbers this season. He’s averaging 30.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. The Thunder might still be another piece away from being an NBA championship contender, but Shai is blossoming right before our very eyes.

       

1. Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic should already be considered one of the greatest centers in NBA history, and he’s nowhere close to being done. He’s the frontrunner to take the award home again this season, and he could end up with the most NBA MVPs won if he keeps this pace up, as he would have won three of their last four.

The Joker is the most spectacular player in basketball right now. He’s no longer a defensive liability, and the Nuggets should be considered the team to beat until proven otherwise. Right now, he’s thriving with averages of 26.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game.

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