The 2022 NBA MVP race | Embiid, Giannis, Morant, Curry and Jokic
The NBA MVP race is just starting to warm up as we approach the end of the season. Nikola Jokic will have to fend off Joel Embiied to repeat as MVP.
We are in the final sprint to the postseason in the NBA as teams have less than 20 games to secure playoff positioning. The chase for the playoffs isn’t the only thing to keep an eye on over the course of the next month.
The MVP race is also starting to boil as the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic, looks to fend off fellow big man Joel Embiid, sharp shooter Steph Curry, the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the young gun out of Memphis Ja Morant.
All those nay sayers claiming Curry’s best days are in the rear view after the Warriors have failed to make the playoffs in the last two seasons have been silenced this year. The 33 year old has carried the Warriors in a season that has been marred with injuries to All-Stars like Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors have hit a bit of a bad spell since the All-Star Game but Curry still has Golden State in the mix for a two seed in the Western Conference. His shooting percentages maybe be a touch on the south side of what we are used to seeing from the greatest shooter to ever play the game, but he is still averaging 25.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season.
Last season’s MVP has only improved his form this year, and he’s doing it without two of his best side kicks. Michael Porter Jr. was hit with a back injury not even ten games into the season while Jamal Murray has been on the recovery road since tearing his ACL 11 months ago.
With even more of the teams weight laid on his shoulders the Serbian has exceeded expectation and surpassed his stat line from last year’s MVP campaign. He may be averaging a half point less this season with 25.9 ppg, but he is shooting a higher percentage from inside (64.1%) and outside (57.3%) the three point line. He is also grabbing 13.8 rebounds a game, three more than last season, and getting 8.1 assists a game.
The Sixers big man has been very clear about who he feels should be the MVP. “I don’t want to push for the whole thing, but the way I’ve been playing speaks for itself,” Embiid said half humbly.
Embiid has overcome the Ben Simmons saga in the City of Brotherly to lift the Sixers to the second best record in the Eastern Conference. All the while the Philly big man is leading the league in points per contest with 29.7 while grabbing 11.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The majority he did without a star guard to ease the pressure off of him. Now he has James Harden as his wingman which will only improve Embiid’s numbers.
Giannis has the Bucks in prime position to make a late season charge for the top spot in the Eastern Conference after a less than stellar start to the season. The Greek Freak’s numbers never really wavered for the defending champions but now the role players seem to have shaken off their championship hangover and are starting to look like the sidekicks of the Title winning Bucks.
Milwaukee has been without their big man Brook Lopez all season long, but their big post presence is getting closer to coming back after it was announced he will start participating in 5 on 5 scrimmages. Even without Lopez, Giannis is averaging 29.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6 assists a game.
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Let’s not forget that Morant is in just his third year in the league. He rise, just like the Grizzlies, has been meteoric this season. After their first round exit from the playoffs last year, Memphis have just recently jumped the Warriors for second in the Western Conference.
Morant has always been a spectacular player, that can light up a stadium with him high flying acrobatics, and his lightening quick handles. He has now made the transition from highlight reel regular to genertional super star. He’s posting 27.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists for the second placed Grizzlies.