The race for the MVP |  The results of the three main candidates

The race for the MVP | The results of the three main candidates

For ten years now, Basket USA has offered you its Top 5 candidates for the “Most Valuable Player” trophy (MVP)”. Today, we are closing our race for the MVP 2022 by taking stock of it, with a close-up of our three favorites, in alphabetical order: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.

Who from inside the Bucks (winner in 2019 and 2020), the pivot of the Sixers (never winner) or the pivot of the Nuggets (winner in 2021) must win? Answer below, with a list of arguments in favor of each of the contenders for the Maurice Podoloff statuette…

Joel Embiid (Sixers)

Assessment: 51 wins, 31 losses – 4th in the East.
Matches: 68 out of 82.
Statistics: 30.6 pts, 11.7 reb, 4.2 ft, 1.1 int, 1.5 ctr and 3.1 ft in 34 min.
Percentages: 50% on shots, 37% on 3-pts and 81% on throws.

Why him ?

Because he is the best scorer in the league. By rising to the top of the country’s top scorer rankings, Joel Embiid didn’t just add a line to his individual record: he wrote history. Having become the only non-American and the 10th pivot to accomplish this feat, the Cameroonian has joined some of his illustrious elders who have justly been elected MVP, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal or David Robinson. Symbol of his unchallenged domination (or almost): he finished with an average of 30.6 points while playing “only” 33.8 minutes per game. Unheard of before him!

‘Cause he plugged the holes in Philadelphia. Despite the soap opera Ben Simmons, which polluted the Sixers’ season for weeks, Joel Embiid worked to keep the Sixers among the best teams in the country. His start to the season was certainly not great, but he was able to revive even more, as soon as he returned from isolation. Still present in 11th place in the East at the end of November, Doc Rivers’ men then began their rise in the standings, to very quickly find the Top 6 of their conference and never leave it. Thanks to the XXL performances of the Cameroonian, who chained the months to 30+ points on average.

Because he has already finished 2nd in 2021. A generational talent, considered by some to be the pivot with the most complete range in attacking history, Joel Embiid is playing the best basketball of his life. At 28, he must therefore be rewarded for his enormous performances over the past two seasons, which can sometimes recall those of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon or David Robinson, as he dominates his subject. Dolphin of Nikola Jokic in 2021, the leader of Philadelphia must not remain as an eternal second and one of those players who have never been crowned.

Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)

Assessment: 48 wins, 34 losses – 6th in the West.
Matches: 74 out of 82.
Statistics: 27.1 pts, 13.8 reb, 7.9 ft, 1.5 int, 0.9 ctr and 3.8 ft in 34 min.
Percentages: 58% on shots, 34% at 3-pts and 81% on throws.

Why him ?

Because it is even better than in 2021. Now holder of the best PER in history over a year (32.85, ahead of Wilt Chamberlain’s 32.08 in 1961/62), Nikola Jokic is simply coming out of the best season of his career. In 2021/22, he set his best averages in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, not to mention his best shooting success percentage. Just that, despite coming out of an already incredible 2020/21 campaign. At the top of his game, the “Joker” therefore demonstrates that he is here to last and dominate for a long time.

Because he played without his two main lieutenants. Who could have imagined last fall that Nikola Jokic would succeed in qualifying the Nuggets directly for the playoffs, without Jamal Murray and with a Michael Porter Jr. quickly on the sidelines? Very few people, no doubt. However, with the valiant – but limited – Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Monte Morris, Jeff Green or even Bones Hyland, the Serb has indeed managed to keep Denver in the Top 6 of the West, against all odds. “LeBron-esque”. Or now “Jokic-esque”.

Because all the advanced statistics speak for him. “Player Efficiency Rating (PER)”, “True Shooting % (TS%)”, “Offensive Rating (ORTG)”, “Defensive Rating (DRTG)”, “Win ​​Shares (WS)”, “Plus-Minus (+/ -)”, “Value Over Replacement Player (VORP)”, “RAPTOR”… All, absolutely all the advanced statistics play in favor of Nikola Jokic, author of a historic season. If we can debate the relevance of some, the majority of them nevertheless allow us to affirm that the MVP 2021 is the most “valuable” player in the league. See you for the double?

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

Assessment: 51 wins, 31 losses – 3rd in the East.
Matches: 67 out of 82.
Statistics: 29.9 pts, 11.6 reb, 5.8 pds, 1.1 int, 1.4 ctr and 3.3 pdb in 33 min.
Percentages: 55% shooting, 29% 3-point and 72% throwing.

Why him ?

Because you shouldn’t trivialize your performance. LeBron James syndrome seems to affect Giannis Antetokounmpo. This one may multiply the games to 30+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists, nothing surprises the observers anymore and they come to get tired of the services of the “Greek Freak”, as long as he does not exceed not 40 points or not approaching 50, as in the last playoffs. Inevitably, this feeling of weariness somewhat handicaps the interior of the Bucks, but we must not forget to remember that, when a player stands out, he must be rewarded with an MVP title. Period.

Because he is the most dominant player for four seasons. NBA champion, MVP of the Finals, double MVP, DPOY… Giannis Antetokounmpo has won everything since 2018, and the arrival of Mike Budenholzer on the Bucks bench. So much so that he has established himself as the best player in the league since the 2018/19 financial year or, in any case, as the one who dominates the most. Between the contrasting results of LeBron James, Joel Embiid and James Harden, the injuries of Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant or the recent advent of Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic, no one looks the Greek in the eye.

Because he is the best defender on the list. Whether in help or on the man, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a real defensive monster, moreover rewarded with the title of Defender of the Year in 2020. If Nikola Jokic has progressed in the field and if Joel Embiid is the keystone of the Sixers in defense, they cannot compare with the “Greek Freak”, terribly precious for his team on this side of the floor. And, this, while he is not sparing his efforts in attack either, where he failed at 0.1 unit of the bar of 30 points on average. Despite a shoot still in run-in, it remains damn effective.

Who to complete the Top 10 behind?

Devin Booker (Suns)
Assessment: 64 wins, 18 losses – 1st in the West.
Matches: 68 out of 82.
Statistics: 26.8 pts, 5.0 reb, 4.8 pds, 1.1 int, 0.4 ctr and 2.4 pdb in 35 min.
Percentages: 47% on shots, 38% at 3-pts and 87% on throws.

Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Assessment: 52 wins, 30 losses – 4th in the West.
Matches: 65 out of 82.
Statistics: 28.4 pts, 9.1 reb, 8.7 pds, 1.2 int, 0.6 ctr and 4.5 pdb in 35 min.
Percentages: 46% on shots, 35% at 3-pts and 74% on throws.

Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
Assessment: 51 wins, 31 losses – 2nd in the East.
Matches: 76 out of 82.
Statistics: 26.9 pts, 8.0 reb, 4.4 pds, 1.0 int, 0.6 ctr and 2.9 pdb in 36 min.
Percentages: 45% shooting, 35% 3-pt and 85% throwing.

DeMar DeRozan (Bulls)
Assessment: 46 wins, 36 losses – 6th in the East.
Matches: 76 out of 82.
Statistics: 27.9 pts, 5.2 reb, 4.9 pds, 0.9 int, 0.3 ctr and 2.4 pdb in 36 min.
Percentages: 50% shooting, 35% 3-pt and 88% throwing.

Ja Morant (Grizzlies)
Assessment: 56 wins, 26 losses – 2nd in the West.
Matches: 57 out of 82.
Statistics: 27.4 pts, 5.7 reb, 6.7 pds, 1.2 int, 0.4 ctr and 3.4 pdb in 33 min.
Percentages: 49% on shots, 34% at 3-pts and 76% on throws.

Kevin Durant (Nets)
Assessment: 44 wins, 38 losses – 7th in the East.
Matches: 55 out of 82.
Statistics: 29.9 pts, 7.4 reb, 6.4 pds, 0.9 int, 0.9 ctr and 3.5 pdb in 37 min.
Percentages: 52% on shots, 38% at 3-pts and 91% on throws.

Karl Anthony Towns (Wolves)
Assessment: 46 wins, 36 losses – 7th in the West.
Matches: 74 out of 82.
Statistics: 24.6 pts, 9.8 reb, 3.6 pds, 1.0 int, 1.1 ctr and 3.1 pdb in 34 min.
Percentages: 53% on shots, 41% at 3-pts and 82% on throws.

But also… Chris Paul (Suns), Stephen Curry (Warriors), Jimmy Butler (Heat), Pascal Siakam (Raptors), Trae Young (Hawks), Rudy Gobert (Jazz), Darius Garland (Cavaliers), Dejounte Murray (Spurs).

All our races to the MVP of the season

N°1: The incessant progression of Jimmy Butler – N°2: DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, a fiery duo – N°3: The golden hands of the stainless Chris Paul – N°4: Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry: Say 33! – N°5: Who is “in” and who is “out”? – N°6: DeMar DeRozan, the endgame specialist – N°7: Nikola Jokic puts on his PER Noël costume – N°8: Kevin Durant pushes back time – N°9: Stephen Curry, shooter apart – N ° 10: LeBron James, the roaring 37th – No. 11: A very undecided vote mid-season – No. 12: Kevin Durant already offside? – N°13: “Hyper valuable” Nikola Jokic – N°14: Chris Paul, between “Captain Clutch” and “Monsieur Propre” – N°15: Ja Morant, the Derrick Rose of his generation – N°16: Finally the year of Joel Embiid? – N°17: American imperialism in danger – N°18: James Harden and Joel Embiid, new dominant duo? – N°19: A sprint-like marathon – N°20: Never two without three for Giannis Antetokounmpo? – N°21: The succession finally ready for take-off? – N°22: And why not Devin Booker? – N°23: Which suitor shines the most against the others?

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