TSL Top Five NBA MVP Candidates | American Ballers Get No Love, The League Done Went International

Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates 2022-23
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For casual NBA fans it may seem like Christmas marks the unofficial start to the season. But in reality, by Christmas we are more than one third through the season and by the second week of January we are at the halfway mark. So now is a good a time as any to talk MVP front-runners.

We are seeing some historic numbers being put up and this may be the toughest MVP race to handicap in recent history.

No. 5. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (+1300)

By now you know we don’t do raw counting stats here, but for those of you that can’t ween yourself off of those metrics, Embiid is averaging 33 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game. He is the best player on an ostensible title contender.

On any given night he is a two-way monster capable of complete domination. He is fifth in the league in EPM at +6.8 and sixth in WS/48 at .214. His efficiency numbers are good at 63 TS% and 55 eFG%.

If the 76ers finish top three in the east and Embiid dominates all season long he would have the narrative story tilting in his favor. First-time MVP, etc.

Las Vegas has Embiid’s MVP odds at +1300.

No. 4. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (+850)

It seems like just yesterday the Nets were surrounded in drama from trade requests, to firing coaches, and sitting below .500. Throughout all of that KD has remained excellent and the Nets are the hottest team in the league and top-three in the East.

But now KD is out with an MCL Sprain for at least a month and a promising season that had the Nets sitting second in the Eastern Conference has taken a turn for the worst. The Nets are clearly a significantly downgraded team without KD. the last two seasons they are 9-19 in games that he missed and down across the board offensively.

It’s sad, because in year 15, he was possibly playing the best ball of his career. Hard to say that, given he’s won an MVP, two-Finals MVPs and been a multiple-time All-NBA selection.

He’s averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game on 56/36/92 shooting splits. At the time of this article being written, his efficiency is elite at 68 TS% and 61 eFG%. He’s sixth in EPM at +6.7, fourth in value-over-replacement-player and ninth in WS/48.

He just passed Tim Duncan, a fellow immortal legend, for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. By season’s end, he could be at number 10.

To win his second MVP nine seasons after his first would be quite the feat. It also highlights the elite consistency of one of the all-timers.

Vegas had KD’s odds at +800, but with his second MCL sprain in a year, on a different knee, he won’t be on the court to compete for that title. The Nets are sure to be overly cautious with him.

No. 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (+280)

Yes, we hate counting stats. But 34 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game is absurd. That’s what Doncic is doing to the league right now. He is an unstoppable offensive force and has taken heliocentric basketball to another level.

He leads the league in EPM at +8.9, earned wins at 10.1, second in WS/48 at .279. He’s also doing it pretty efficiently at 62 TS% and 58 eFG%.

He’s the MVP leader on many lists and Vegas has him as the favorite at +280. He will have the narrative case in his favor as well.

If the Mavericks can be a top four seed in the West and his play continues, he’ll likely win it. Unless the Nuggets are the top seed (more on that in a moment).

No. 2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (+350)

Tatum made his first All-NBA first team last season and his first trip to the NBA Finals. It seems like Tatum is an old head, as he’s been in the basketball consciousness, seemingly forever. He’s only 24 and getting better.

He’s averaging 30 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game for the best team in the league. He is one half of arguably the best wing duo in the league with Jaylen Brown.

He’s eighth in EPM at +6.3 and is shooting 56 percent on two-pointers. He’s playing elite defense as well and looking to make sure the Celtics get back to the Finals.

Vegas has his odds at +350.

No. 1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (+440)

The reigning two-time MVP is still arguably the best player in the world. He is the hub for the league’s third-ranked offense and is second in EPM at +8.8. He’s first with a bullet in WS/48 at .315.

He’s averaging 25.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game. A center is basically averaging a triple-double. Absurd. But Jokic is modern basketball personified.

He will have voter fatigue to contend with and the fact that the only players to win three consecutive MVPs are Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird.

If the Nuggets secure the top seed in the West with neither Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr. having career years, it will say a lot about how good Jokic remains.

Vegas has his odds at +440