After what has been one of the most interesting NBA seasons in recent memory, records have been broken and the standings can feel flipped on their heads. Who would have assumed the New York Knicks would have a legitimate shot not at only the play-offs, but home advantage?
By the same token, who would have believed that an MVP award for LeBron James would be such a far-off prospect? Sure, injuries have slowed down his own MVP shout, but still. Who, then, might be likely to claim the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2021 season?
#5 – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors (+3000)
While Steph Curry might be the finest Point Guard of all-time, and a legitimate revolutionary in the league, his 2021 MVP credentials pre-season would have felt quite fanciful. The loss of Klay Thompson only furthered how unlikely a Curry MVP run might be.
At 33 and recovered from his own injury hell, though, Curry has been a one-man show for the Dubs this year. His MVP run, backed by stellar form in April, might be closer than some assume.
#4 – James Harden, Brooklyn Nets (+2500)
Seen by many as the biggest trade of the last few hours, the James Harden era in Houston ended in tears. His acrimonious departure has led to a pretty transformative change, and Harden has arguably been the best performer of the ‘Big Three’ in Brooklyn.
However, what might hamper his MVP charge is consistent injuries. Already, a hamstring injury looks set to arguably end his regular season. Has Harden played enough? Despite stellar performances, has he been on the court enough to win an MVP award?
#3 – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (+2000)
The Greek Freak was the MVP winner last year, with his dominating regular-season form seeing him claim the award. The Bucks aren’t as dominant this year but look a better bet for a playoff run than previous seasons. Like Harden, the Power Forward will likely miss out purely down to fitness as opposed to performance.
#2 – Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (+325)
Prior to this season, the criticism of Cameroonian star Embiid was pretty heavy. He wasn’t fit; he couldn’t work with Ben Simmons; he bottled it in the big games. With Philly fighting it out for top seed in the East under Doc Rivers, and with a cast of shooters including Seth Curry and Danny Green, Embiid has been better than ever.
Like the three above, though, consistent injury to his knee might hamper an MVP push.
#1 – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (-400)
The runaway favorite for the MVP might be one of the biggest surprises in modern NBA history. A late second-round pick, Jokic has gone from a portly playmaking center to one of the most legitimate all-around stars in the entire sport.
At 25, he has endured a dominant season unlike any other player in the league. Unlike others above, he’s been consistent when playing – and he plays just about every game. Fitness has not been a problem for the Serbian, making his MVP victory – and his importance of Denver – feel almost assured at this stage.