Top Contenders in the MVP Race: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic

1-Nikola Jokic (Denver)

2023–24 statistics: 57.9 FG, 8.9 apg, 1.1 spg, 13.1 rpg, and 27.5 ppg.% Form rating (17th overall): 25.49

2023-24 NBA MVP Rankings: Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and more

It’s amazing to think that after all the well-deserved championship celebrations he had this summer, reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic has practically been sleepwalking through the season thus far. Despite this, he leads the Denver Nuggets to a 10-5 record with a +5.3 net rating, which is the fifth-best mark in the NBA, and ranks 11th in scoring, first in rebounds, and fourth in assists. Additionally, Jokic is carrying a heavier load than usual because star teammate Jamal Murray has been sidelined for the majority of the season due to injury. Nobody will be shocked to learn that Jokic leads in all three of the important advanced metrics—VORP, WS/48, and BPM—a performance he has maintained since reaching his peak. Could voter weariness play a role once more in the event that Jokic wins MVP? We sincerely hope not, as it’s evident that he remains the world’s greatest basketball player right now.

2-Joel Embiid

2023–24 statistics: 49.7 FG, 6.1 apg, 1.8 bpg, 11.3 rpg, and 31.9 ppg.%

Form score: 6.45 out of 29

Even if his style of play may not appeal to many fans, Joel Embiid, the current league MVP, is still among the top players in the NBA. Embiid is the league leader in scoring per game, sixth in rebounds per game, and 11th in blocks per game. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has the fourth-best net rating in the NBA (+6.7), suggesting that they are as strong as they have been during the Embiid era. Moreover, Embiid is ranked in the top four in WS/48, VORP, and BPM, so whether you like it or not, his playing style—which includes foul-baiting—is quite successful. If Embiid continues this way, which he very well should, he will be one of the leading contenders for MVP in 2023–2024.

3-Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 

30.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.3 apg, 2.4 spg, and 53.8 FG are the 2023–24 results.%

Form score: 39.01 (top of the pack)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the player who, according to Form Rating, has been in the best form in the NBA over the last 15 days. A cursory look at his stats readily explains why. The Canadian guard most recently led the Thunder against the Chicago Bulls 116-102, going off for 40 points, five rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, and three blocks. Now ranked second in the NBA in WS/48, BPM, and VORP, Gilgeous-Alexander has accomplished incredible feats for a guy forced to do so much on offense—always against the greatest defenses in the opposition, no less. Oh, and he now leads the league in steals as well, making him a very disruptive defender as well. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that the Los Angeles Clippers traded for Gilgeous-Alexander, but who would have thought the guard would develop into a real MVP candidate?

4-Luka Doncic

30.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 8.1 apg, 1.2 spg, and 49.1 FG are the 2023–24 results.%

Form score: 10.38 out of 27

Luka Doncic, a top player for the Dallas Mavericks, is now ranked third in the NBA in scoring and seventh in assists. He is continuing to put up spectacular stats, as he has since entering the league. But because of Dallas’s team difficulties in recent years, it feels like Doncic hasn’t come any closer to earning MVP. That regrettably hasn’t really altered for this season. Although the Mavericks have a 10-5 schedule, they haven’t played much thus far. In addition, the team’s net rating of +2.0 places it merely 14th. Doncic’s MVP argument will strengthen if that gets better and the Mavericks appear to be title contenders because his individual stats are still absurdly impressive.

Stats for 2023–24: 60.1 FG, 10.4 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.1 bpg, and 29.6 ppg%
Form score: 33.45, ranking 2nd overall
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time league MVP, continues to lead the Milwaukee Bucks with incredible stats yet again this season. In addition to having the best career field goal percentage of 60.1, Antetokounmpo is averaging the third-highest points per game on a nightly basis during his NBA career. He is also one of the NBA’s most effective defenders and rebounders while juggling all of that. But for Antetokounmpo to overcome voter weariness and truly win a third MVP title, the Bucks must dominate the regular season at a higher clip than they have thus far. Milwaukee is now just 12th in the league in terms of net rating (+2.5) for 2023–24, so things aren’t going well there. As long as Antetokounmpo plays at this caliber, which we fully expect him to, he will have a case for the MVP title.
2023–24 statistics: 50.2 FG, 4.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 9.1 rpg, and 27.9 ppg%
Form score: 26.31, ranking 13th overall
The great player for the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, was one of the guys who was heavily tipped to be the MVP going into 2023–2024, and he has not let anyone down thus far. Tatum is now setting career highs in rebounding per game, BPM, and WS/48 (his league-wide rankings in those measures read All-NBA rather than MVP, for the record). The Celtics, who lead the league in net rating and often outscore opponents by a commanding 10.2 points per 100 possessions, also appear to be the best team in the NBA as of right now. Naturally, Celtics supporters want to see their team surpass the MVP award and ultimately win a championship during the Tatum era—something that the team came very close to achieving in 2021–2022. With Tatum performing at this level, it appears that this year might be the year it happens at last.

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