As the 2020-21 regular season comes to a close, the NBA MVP race continues to be a polarizing discussion. There are two main candidates and a distant third that rounds out the race. All three players are all valuable in their own right, but only one can win the NBA’s most coveted individual award.
Here are the top three players in the running to win the NBA MVP.
Who Should Win the NBA MVP Award?
Joel Embiid has put up his best season so far in his career. At 29.1 points per game (ppg), Embiid is third in the NBA in scoring this season. He is also shooting a career-high from three-point range, at 36.3%. Embiid struggled in the bubble last season, due to the inconsistency of the health of his teammates. This year, he has lead the 76ers to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
The biggest issue with Embiid’s NBA MVP candidacy is that he still lacks the number one ability in sports — availability. If Embiid plays the final six games for the 76ers this season, he will have played in 53/72 total games. Missing 27% of an NBA season isn’t exactly what I would like to see from an NBA MVP candidate. If anything, this hurts Embiid because the 76ers still did well enough during his absence to remain at the top of the conference. If Embiid turned in the season he did while playing in more games, his case for MVP would be much more legitimate.
The Golden State Warriors may be the number one team nobody in the Western Conference wants to face in a play-in game. And the main reason? Steph Curry. He is currently leading the NBA in scoring, with 31.6 points per game. Curry is shooting 42.6% from three-point range . Do you know how insane that is? He is attempting a career-high 12.4 shots from beyond the arc per game, and he is converting on 5.3 of them, which is also a career-high.
Many would look at Curry’s insane shooting season and credit it to not having All-Star talent around him. And don’t forget first-round pick James Wiseman hasn’t played since mid-April. But, I think the lack of solid talent around him makes Curry’s season that much more impressive. There are still concerns about Curry’s health from this season (he will have missed about 25% of the season due to injury). But overall, Curry is the reason the Warriors have the potential to advance into the playoffs rather than be in the basement of the league.
While many are in awe of Embiid’s power and Curry’s hot shooting, the choice for NBA MVP this season is simple. The Joker has been the leading candidate for this award all along. At 26.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game, Nikola Jokić’s stats fit the part of an MVP. Jokić has also been extremely efficient, shooting career-highs from the field (56.5%) and three-point range (40.5%). But what impresses me the most about Jokić is that he has played in every game this season for the Denver Nuggets. Plus, the Nuggets will be as high as the third seed in an extremely competitive Western Conference. Just because the Nuggets and Jokić do not garner the most clicks, views, etc. does not mean they shouldn’t be covered.
In a world where NFL reporting is in shambles, the people deserve the truth no matter how “un-sexy” it is. The truth is that Nikola Jokić deserves to be crowned the 2020-21 NBA MVP.