March 15, 2023
As the NBA season heats up, so does the race to win the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. The award is a huge honor, and this season the debate over potential winners is more heated than ever.
The frontrunner and favorite, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, looks set to win his third consecutive MVP award. He once again enjoyed an incredible season, but the gap has closed over the past few weeks.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo have both seen their teams post stellar performances in the business end of the season, bolstering their claims for the MVP crown.
Meanwhile, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks has seen his side struggle in recent weeks, but nothing can be taken away from his individual performances.
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Behind these three are Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) and one of the best ever, LeBron James (LA Lakers).
Below is a graph of player statistics this season, compiled by NBA.com statistics:
This graphic makes it clear why Jokic is considered by many to be the favorite to take home the award.
Stuart Hodge, a commentator for the British Basketball League’s Glasgow Caledonian, says Jokic’s product spread gives him an advantage.
“This graphic clearly outlines why Nikola Jokic is once again the frontrunner for the award.
“Joker’s production is stellar, and it’s the spread of his production, particularly the double-doubles and triple-doubles, that make him special.”
The numbers are shown in the table below.
Jokic clearly has the most impressive stats with his pure triple-double numbers, averaging 24.3 points per game, 11.8 rebounds and 10 assists per game.
In other words, he was able to become the author of a triple double on average in one game this season, and no other player in the league can boast of such a record.
Hodge adds that Doncic is the closest contender to Jokic given their similar schedules;
“You also notice how Doncic’s schedule is similar to his [Jokic’s]but less pointed.’
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This sentiment is reflected in LJMU head basketball coach Emil Coleman’s belief that this season’s MVP race is tough, but he is narrowing it down to Donic and Jokic as his top two.
“I think this season is one of the most difficult because Doncic and Jokic are in such good form.
“From a fans’ point of view, I’d like Doncic to win it. He does the simplest things so well and is the epitome of how Europe can produce players with the best fundamentals in the world.
But as a coach, I’d probably prefer to have Jokic on my team and on the court because I think he’s a more consistent, versatile performer, as shown in these stats.”
With only 30 days left in the regular season, we will soon find out who this year’s MVP was.