Who are the favorites to win the MVP entering the last stretch of the 2022-23 NBA season?
As the NBA gets back in gear after the All-Star break, let’s take a look at the players competing for the MVP this season.
At the moment, to be frank, there’s just one favorite for the NBA MVP, and that is Denver Nuggets two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Everyone else on the list is just trying to keep up with him at this point in the season. There are still a little over two months left in the regular season, but let’s take a look at Jokic’s stats and how the other favorites in the race compare.
2023 NBA MVP favorites
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jokic is the very clear favorite in the MVP race this season. The Nuggets star would be the first player to win three straight MVPs since Larry Bird in the 1980s. In fact, only three players have everyone MVP three times at all - Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell. Jokic has averaged 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 10.1 assists per game and has 21 triple-doubles for the season. To put those triple-doubles into perspective, Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is second with 11, and no other player has more than six. Things can always change, but with a healthy Jokic and the Nuggets team surrounding him, it’s hard to see anyone else coming away with the award at the end of the season.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid won the scoring title last year with 30.6 points per game and is currently averaging even more at 33 points per game, just 0.2 points behind league leader in scoring, Luka Doncic. He was also one of the top scorers in the All-Star game with 32 points for Team LeBron. The Sixers are in third place in the East wit Embiid at center, but he’s up against Jokic for MVP for the third year in a row, and he looks unlikely to come out on top for the third year in a row.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis has won the NBA MVP twice already, and is averaging 31.7 points per game, the third best in the league. His 12.2 boards are the second best in the league, and his Bucks are the No. 2 seed in the East, just behind the Boston Celtics. He will miss a few games due to a ligament sprain in his wrist that he picked up in the All-Star game, but that shouldn’t affect him too much. It’s more the competition with the Joker and Embiid
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Doncic has been carrying this Mavericks team for a few years now, but now that they have added Kyrie Irving and taken a little bit of the pressure off him, Dallas is looking like real contenders to reach the Finals again this year. Doncic is currently the top scorer in the league with 33.2 points per game, but with Irving on the court with him, that could change. Of course, Doncic has said he would much rather win a championship than MVP, which is good because he may have to wait another year for his chance.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Tatum has taken the Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference and is averaging 30.6 points a game. He won the MVP award at the All-Star game after putting up a historic 55 points for Team Giannis plus a record 27 in a single quarter. Tatum continues to perform at a higher level each year and in addition to his 30.6 points per game, he’s putting up 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists. If his Celtics end up with a better record than the Nuggets by the end of the regular season, there’s a possibility his chances increase.