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Kia NBA MVP Race: Latest Power Rankings - April 19th, 2021

Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry has made a recent charge for NBA MVP
Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry has made a recent charge for NBA MVP
Miles Lockhart
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With only a month of regular season action left for fans to enjoy, our NBA MVP power rankings continue to change as the race to be named the league's best player nears its culmination.

The likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden all remain sidelined. They are highly unlikely to claim another MVP trophy this season, with only the latter having an outside chance at the moment. This has left the door open for Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid to battle it out as the favorites for this year's award.

2020-21 NBA MVP - Power Rankings entering final month of action

Debate around the NBA MVP award has been rife, and the outcome will wholly depend on how voters value certain aspects of the game.

While Jokic is dominating the NBA in win shares and has one of the best, if not the best, all-round games in the league, the Serbian falters on defense and the Nuggets have a worse record than Embiid's 76ers.

Of course, the West is arguably more difficult than the East, so judging their MVP candidacy based on record is flawed. However, the Philadephia 76ers leader has transformed his game this year and has dominated his opponents on both ends of the floor this campaign.

This all amounts to a thrilling NBA MVP race, the setting of which will likely still have a few twists and turns before the season is up. Let's take a look at our current power rankings for the award.

#5 Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers leader, Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers leader, Damian Lillard

MPG - 35.9, PPG - 28.7, APG - 7.7, RPG - 4.2, FG% - 44.0%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 5th (-)

Damian Lillard remains fifth in our power rankings for the NBA MVP award, although his numbers have continued to fall.

The 30-year-old was open about his slim chances at earning the award, saying the Trail Blazers would have to return to winning ways. Portland have won only six games in their previous ten and are at risk of losing the 6th seed to the Dallas Mavericks.

Regardless, Lillard has had another stellar scoring season and remains one of the most underappreciated stars in the NBA. He averaged over 30 points a night while McCollum and Nurkic were out, keeping the Trail Blazers' playoff hopes afloat in the West.

He ranks among the top 3 starting guards for points and free-throw accuracy this season while averaging the most minutes of any player on our NBA MVP list - proving his value to the Trail Blazers success.

#4 Steph Curry

Steph Curry has already won the NBA MVP award twice
Steph Curry has already won the NBA MVP award twice

MPG - 34.0, PPG - 31.0, APG - 5.9, RPG - 5.6, FG% - 49.1%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - N/A

Steph Curry is arguably having the best season of his career and could make a late push for the NBA MVP award.

Having won the award twice in his career, Curry is averaging more points and rebounds while shooting at a similar rate to the year he won MVP unanimously. He enters our power rankings this week in place of James Harden, who continues to miss game time for the Brooklyn Nets through injury.

Curry is having an unprecedented scoring run recently and leads all NBA players in points per night by almost ten in his last ten matchups (39.9). During that time, he has shot the ball at 55.6% from the field and at close to 50% from downtown. He has made at least a staggering ten threes per night in three of the Warriors' last four matchups.

Also Read: How much is Stephen Curry's Net Worth?


#3 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo

MPG - 33.7, PPG - 28.4, APG - 6.1, RPG - 11.2, FG% - 56.5%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 3rd (-)

Giannis Antetokounmpo retains his place in our power rankings for the NBA MVP award despite only playing in four of the Bucks' previous ten outings.

Milwaukee went 3-3 without the Greek in their side, and 3-1 in the other four matchups. His return to the starting five on Thursday was fairly low-key as he recorded 15 points in 25 minutes. But he was emphatic in the Bucks' loss on Sunday, putting up 28 points, 8 assists and 11 boards in just 29 minutes.

While Antetokounmpo's efficiency per 36 minutes is down when compared to the last campaign, he has improved his overall game. The 26-year-old has already grabbed a career-high 7 triple-doubles this campaign - two more than his previous best - and gets to the line more than any other player in the league.

#2 Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers leader Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers leader Joel Embiid

MPG - 32.2, PPG - 30.0, APG - 3.0, RPG - 11.1, FG% - 51.6%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 2nd (-)

Although Joel Embiid has been emphatic this season and is one of the best at bullying his opponent down low, the Cameroonian may miss out on the NBA MVP award after missing 18 games through injury.

It would be a tough pill to swallow for the 27-year-old, who is currently the third-highest scorer in the league and has the 4th-best +/- of any player.

He has strengthened his case for the NBA MVP award over the last week though, by averaging 37 points in each of Philadelphia's three wins and having shooting splits of 50-40-90.

Embiid has played the best basketball of his career by far this campaign, and with a win share of 7.3 from 38 games, has led the 76ers to the top of the East. His per-minute production is the highest in the NBA, while his offensive rating eclipses his previous personal best by 9 at 123.

#1 Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic has led NBA MVP rankings all season
Nikola Jokic has led NBA MVP rankings all season

MPG - 35.2, PPG - 26.1, APG - 8.8, RPG - 11.0, FG% - 56.7%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 1st (-)

Our NBA MVP leader Nikola Jokic faces his toughest period of the season as the Denver Nuggets' leader. With Jamal Murray now ruled out for the rest of the campaign, Jokic is going to have to do more than ever on the offensive end.

In the Nuggets' 123-116 win over the Miami Heat this week, Jokic put up his 15th triple-double of the season, proving he can carry this Denver side. Whether he will be able to do so in the playoffs rather than just in the regular season remains to be seen, but his consistent performances have helped him widen the gap on his MVP rivals.

Jokic has been unstoppable all season and has developed into one of the most complete players in the league. He is averaging career-high figures across all of the traditional metrics and leads the league in win shares with 12.5 - also a personal best. His offensive rating stands at a staggering 131, while his defensive rating has remained solid at 109.

If he can keep his performances up and guide the Nuggets into the West's 4th seed, there is little doubt Jokic will pick up the NBA MVP award.

Edited by Sai Krishna
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