Mar 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 honour, and this season the debate on potential victors is more intense than ever.
The frontrunner and favourite, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets looks on course to capture his third successive MVP award. He has enjoyed an incredible season once again, however the past few weeks have seen the gap close.
Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time MVP winner Giannis Antetokoumpo have both seen their sides capture stellar form at the season’s business end strengthening their claims for MVP crown.
While Luca Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks has seen his side struggle in recent weeks however nothing can be taken away from his individual performances.
Behind these three is Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) and one of the greatest ever LeBron James (LA Lakers) in the mix too.
Below is a graphic of the players statistical performance this season, made with stats from NBA.com;
From this graph it becomes apparent why Jokic is the favourite of many to bring home the award.
British Basketball League side Glasgow Caledonian’s commentator, Stuart Hodge says that Jokic’s production spread gives him the edge.
“This graph clearly delineates why Nikola Jokic is the front runner for the award once again.
“The Joker’s production is stellar and it is the spread of his production, in particular double-doubles and triple-doubles, make him stand out.”
The numbers are seen in the table below;
Jokic clearly has the most impressive stats through his pure quantity of triple-doubles, averaging 24.3 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game and 10 assists per game.
Meaning on a per game average this season he has managed to get a triple double, no other player in the league boasts such a record.
Hodge adds that Doncic is the closest contender to Jokic given their similar graphs:
“You also notice how Doncic’s graph is similar to his [Jokic’s], but less spiked.”
This sentiment is mirrored by Head coach of LJMU Basketball, Emile Coleman believes this season’s MVP race is tight but narrows it down having Donic and Jokic as his top two.
“I think this season is one of the hardest to call as both Doncic and Jokic are in such good form.
“From a fan’s point of view, I would love Doncic to win it. He does the simplest things so well and is the embodiment of how Europe can produce players with the best fundamentals in the world.
But as a coach I would probably prefer to have Jokic on my team and on the court as I think he gives a more consistent all-round performance as demonstrated in these stats.”
With just under 30 days remaining in the regular season, we will soon be finding out who has been this year’s MVP.
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