The Most Valuable Player award is the most prestigious award in the NBA. The award has been dominated by big men over the last handful of years. Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic has won the award last two and Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo won the award the two years before that. Looking to the 2022-23 NBA season, there will be many contenders for the award. It is unlikely that Nikola Jokic will win his third MVP award in a row, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1984-1986 by Larry Bird. Voter fatigue will more than likely have settled in, something that will not help Jokic. It would also be difficult for Jokic to take another impressive leap like he did last season. While anything is possible, it’s likely we’ll have a new MVP at the end of next season.
Many sports betting outlets have one thing in common when looking at 2023 NBA MVP odds: Luka Doncic has the highest odds of winning. Heading into his fifth season, Luka Doncic is easily one of the best guards in the league. Only 23 at the time of this writing, Luka is only going to get better and better. Last season, the Mavericks guard was close to averaging a double-double with 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 8.7 APG in 65 games. Luka and the Mavs surprised many in the post-season, leading the team to the Western Conference Finals. The Mavs had many moves take place in the offseason, with the biggest move being Jalen Brunson leaving for the Knicks. With the team not signing anyone to fill Brunson’s spot and Tim Hardaway Jr. coming back off an injury, it’s likely that the scoring load may be on Luka. Last season, Luka finished fifth overall in MVP voting after a tremendous second half. If Luka can improve on the season he had last season, there is no doubt that he will be at the top of the MVP conversation.
In the last two seasons, Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has finished as runner-up to Nikola Jokic in MVP voting. While there was a bit of a difference between Embiid and Jokic during the 2020-21 season, the two were neck and neck all season. Many argued that Embiid should’ve won the award over Jokic. Last season, Embiid averaged a career-high 30.6 PPG, alongside 11.7 RPG. Even though he only played 68 games last season, Embiid remained at the top of the MVP conversation all season. If Embiid can have another great year alongside a healthy James Harden, the Sixers can improve upon their 51-win season. The 2022-23 season may be Embiid’s best bet to win MVP. With some changes expected in the Eastern Conference this season, a Sixers team led by a healthy Embiid could finish the season as the first seed. After two seasons of finishing as the runner-up, it could be third times the charm for Joel Embiid.
There is no doubt that the most talked about player next season will be Kevin Durant. The KD saga this offseason has been ever-changing since he first requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. This week, KD reiterated his trade request and gave ownership the ultimate of him or management and coaching staff. With a couple more teams entering the KD conversation, we may finally see Durant traded before the season starts. If he can be traded to a team where he can just ball and not deal with drama, there is no doubt KD will be a key player in the MVP conversation. Last season, Durant averaged 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG in only 55 games. Durant still finished top 10 in voting. KD knows that no matter what team he plays for next season, he will be getting a fair amount of criticism. Two things will be key for Durant to win MVP next season. First, Durant needs to be healthy. If he can play at least 60 games, he should be in the conversation. Second, he needs to find a destination that won’t be riddled with drama. If those small changes can happen for KD, he will be an MVP favorite at the end of the NBA season.
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