Every season in the NBA, it seems like two or three players really stick out compared to the rest of the league as the clear-cut MVP front-runners. This year though, you can make a case for a handful of different players, but a lot of the discussion for this year’s reward will come down to playing time and injuries.
With the NBA season being cut down by 10 games this season to a total of 72 games, time missed by MVP candidates will definitely affect the voting and perhaps even take them out of consideration!
As things stand right now, it seems like the MVP race is Nikola Jokic’s to lose and for good reason. Jokic has been dominant all season long and the best part of his game is that he does not excel in one area of the game. The guy is just an all-around great basketball player and the fact that he is a 7-foot center who is also Denver’s primary ball-handler is quite impressive.
Other guys like James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Joel Embiid are all also in the discussion for the league MVP award this season, but all of these guys have missed a handful of games this year, which brings us back to our main question of how will missed games affect the MVP race this season?
Well, the lowest percentage of games played by a MVP was during the 1977-78 season when Bill Walton won the league MVP award after playing in just 70.7% of his team’s games. When you compare that to this season, 70% of this season would be about 50-51 games. When you look at Jokic compared to the guys listed above, he has played in every game for his team this season, which is going to be a huge selling point for voters this season.
While it seems like Nikola Jokic will wind up winning this season’s league MVP award, there are still a few players that are trying to make a last-minute push for the award. Let’s take a look at three guys who have turned things on over the last few weeks and are making a “last-effort push” for league MVP honors this season.