Following the latter end of last seasons conclusion, the unprecedented 2020-2021 season followed with many anomaly-type occurrences.

Of said occurrences, it’s going to make for the most unique voting on many of the highly-touted end of the season awards, mainly the leagues MVP.

Whichever way league voters end up deciding, it’s certain to be the subject of much (and I mean MUCH…) scrutiny and debate from players, fans, and executives alike.

The typical criteria in a “normal” season creates a whirlwind of discussions regarding what is fair, what’s a true “most valuable player,” and why so-and-so either are or aren’t deserving based on the interpreters thougt process. Add the adversities and skewed statistics based on availability then the overcoming do any Covid symptoms amidst retuning to the court, and you begin to see just how interesting this seasons MVP development will be.

For me, I do feel as though availability is an element of MVP talk that has to be weighed in the process. Of course, a players impact in on/off numbers can typically accurately assess true value, but a strong percentage of games must be played for my personal liking. That, combined with the typical entities that are involved with the MVP race (statistical production and team success even when compared to the season prior, etc.) are how I compiled my MVP ranks.

With a month left in the season, there isn’t much time left for resume addressings. Here’s how I have my MVPs ranked 👀

5.) Stephen Curry

11 consecutive games of 30+ PPG and averaging more points than he did in his unanimous MVP season, what more can you say about Steph?

There are rules, then there are individuals that come about that bend the constraints of said rules. In his MVP resume and case, he is that.

When considering all things like the inexperience of the Warriors roster, Wiseman in and out then officially out for the remainder of the season, as well as Klay missing the entire year, he could have mailed it in and no one would have questioned him heart.

Instead of mailing it in though, he tapped all the way into his greatness and has kept the same energy as he had in his finals contending years. That is the mark of a true competitor.

His chances of really winning are non-existent but that is solely because of his teams performance.

The Warriors see currently on the edge of Play-In seeds, though comfortably, as the 10th seed.

Having to see Steph in single-game instances with such heavy implications is about as daunting as it gets in the NBA, and about as exciting as it gets as a fan.

4.) Chris Paul

The most “lifting your team into contention” pick of the top 5 also comes from (by far!) the oldest player here. Aging like fine wine, the soon to be 36-year old Point God is doing his thing in elevating teams upon arrival… yet again.

Not nearly as heavy of lifting as last season in OKC for CP, but the Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010-2011. So uplifting that dark cloud of playoff absences from this franchise weighs heavy.

For context, that season was CP3s final in New Orleans, a season that started Paul’s current 10-year consecutive playoff appearance streak, and 11 straight winning seasons.

Also, what he is doing at 35-years of age leaves his game weighed differently. Should this had been a typical 82-game season, based on their team efficiency, the Suns would be on pace for 56 wins.

That’s a +22 jump in wins from their 34 win season of 2019-2020.

Clap for him, he’s as deserving as anyone to be amongst the top MVP candidates, and leads the Suns toward scratching the surface of their potential.

3.) Giannis Antentokounmpo

Regardless of how well he played, Giannis would certainly fall to “voters fatigue” being the owner of each of the last two MVP awards.

That aside, he’s registering his second best career effect on defense, and has remained just as effective offensively as he was in his aforementioned MVP campaigns.

He has the Bucks sitting in firmly in third in the East, and will register another Top 5 MVP finish to the season.

2.) Joel Embiid

Averaging a career-high 30 PPG, the never shy and always boisterous Joel Embiid has let the be known that he wants to win and wants to win an MVP.

He’s verbalized this, but his play has backed up these claims as well.

As far as his game, he’s shown great growth and touch from the mid-range. He’s shooting nearly 50% from there, and is in the 80th percentile from long-midrange where he’s right at 50%.

He’s also shooting a career-high 38% from 3 and is getting to the line 11.7 times a game (converting at 85%).

He’s also a +12.9 in efficiency differential, which among MVP candidates, is only rivaled by Giannis (+11.4) and Steph (+12.5).

Embiid and the Sixers see currently tied for first in the East with the Nets.

1.) Nikola Jokic

The odds on favorite, The Joker, is top five in total points, rebounds, and assists on the season and is averaging career highs in each of those categories on career average.

He also hasn’t missed a game yet this season.

With 16 different starting lineups used on the season, this speaks to the flux that the Nuggets have dealt with.

It also speaks to just how great Jokic has been in not just keeping the Nuggets afloat, but also keeping them out of the looming and tumultuous Play-In Tournament.

He’s having a historic season by big man standards and is beyond deserving of the MVP for this season.

There’s my MVP rankings at this point in the season.

What to Watch for this Weekend?

Portland vs Memphis

The Blazers and Grizzlies will face off three separate times in the next six days.

The Blazers will play host tonight (9pm CST) and Sunday (3pm CST). Then the two face off for the final time in Memphis on Wednesday (8pm CST).

This in mind, my attention will reside directly with these games in gauging how well the Grizzlies will fair as they reintegrate Jaren Jackson Jr. For the Grizzlies, Valanciunas does remain out as he is in the leaguee concussion protocol.

On the Blazers side, Zach Collins will be out for tonight’s game.

Final Thoughts

In closing, I would like to pay my respects in acknowledging the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke, and send prayers to his family as they mourn 🙏🏾.

*All stats are accurate entering play on 4.23 and come directly from basketball-reference or cleaningtheglass unless stated otherwise*

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