Kia NBA MVP Race: Latest Power Rankings - April 26th, 2021

Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards
Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards
Miles Lockhart

A flurry of great performances recently by Steph Curry could disrupt the power rankings for the NBA MVP award as we enter the last few weeks of the season.

The three-time champion's scoring spree has been enough to see off the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets this week. It could be too late for the two-time winner of the award, however, though it certainly adds to the excitement of what was once a three-way race before LeBron James' injury.

At the time of writing, it is really only going to come down to the two centers that have dominated the league all season. Should either win it, they will become the first big man to do so since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000.

2020-21 NBA MVP - Power Rankings change once again behind two frontrunners

Our NBA MVP power rankings see considerable change behind leaders Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic this week. Luka Doncic comes back into contention as the Dallas Mavericks have built a run of form at just the right time while Steph Curry continues his late rise.

Although the winner of the award looks fairly set in stone, the race for the NBA MVP has had its fair share of twists and turns this campaign and there may yet be one last twist in the tale.

#5 Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic has helped the Dallas Mavericks climb back up the Western Conference
Luka Doncic has helped the Dallas Mavericks climb back up the Western Conference

MPG - 35.1, PPG - 28.5, APG - 8.8, RPG - 8.0, FG% - 48.3%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - N/A

Luka Doncic returns to our NBA MVP power rankings this week after willing the Mavs through three wins and into the West's sixth seed. Although the 22-year-old may not win the award this year, he is doing his best to help Dallas avoid the play-in tournament - a concept Doncic has publicly criticized.

Over the past week, Doncic has averaged narrowly close to a triple-double with 26 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. Although his numbers are slightly down in April compared to his season averages, the Slovenian led all Mavs scorers in every game bar one. He has scored over 30 points on four occasions this month.

#4 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to be missing out on a historic MVP three-peat
Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to be missing out on a historic MVP three-peat

MPG - 33.6, PPG - 28.5, APG - 6.0, RPG - 11.4, FG% - 56.8%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 3rd (↓1)

Unfortunately, the opportunity for an NBA MVP three-peat seems to be evading Giannis Antetokounmpo. Although the Greek was dominant against the Philadelphia 76ers twice this week, his side remains inconsistent and has lost five of their last ten matches.

His efficiency has fallen on offense despite seeing more minutes, but Antetokounmpo has improved his all-round game and already has a career-high seven triple-doubles this campaign. He has also now surpassed Glenn Robinson for second place on the Bucks' all-time scoring list when he scored 24 points on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.

Antetokounmpo is putting up fewer points and rebounds per night than last year and is most certainly not going to retain his MVP crown this season.

#3 Steph Curry

Steph Curry has been in electric form recently
Steph Curry has been in electric form recently

MPG - 34.1, PPG - 31.3, APG - 5.8, RPG - 5.6, FG% - 48.9%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 4th (↑1)

Steph Curry's absurd numbers in April have helped him rise in our power rankings for the NBA MVP.

In 13 games this month so far, the 33-year-old is putting up a staggering 38.1 points on 52.9% shooting which has seen him become the league's leading scorer. It has also put the Golden State Warriors within a game and a half of the Portland Trail Blazers, who are three places above them in the West.

Over the past ten matches, of which the Warriors have won seven, Curry has shot agonizingly close to 50-40-90, just missing out by 1% from the free-throw line. That is despite the point guard taking 23.4 field goal attempts and 14.7 threes per game.

Although Curry has always been entertaining to watch, he is currently playing some of the best basketball of his career and is showing why he will go down as one of the greatest shooters of all time.

Even for rival fans, Curry's performances have been a joy to watch and it seems that with every passing evening he can drain a more difficult three. That said, it may be too late for him to disrupt the top-two in the NBA MVP race.

#2 Joel Embiid

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers

MPG - 32.1, PPG - 30.0, APG - 3.1, RPG - 11.1, FG% - 51.3%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 2nd (-)

Joel Embiid has dominated his opponents and looks to have taken a huge step in developing his game by becoming a serial and, more importantly, reliable scorer.

Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers big man has missed 19 games this year which has severely dented his chances of winning the NBA MVP award. The 76ers recent four-game losing streak hasn't helped either, though Embiid put up 30 points and 11 boards in three of those games.

Load management has been key for the Philadelphia 76ers star this season, which if it helps to win a title will certainly soften the blow of losing out in the NBA MVP race. Embiid is the most dominant center in the East and will be Doc Rivers' go-to man should they match up against the Brooklyn Nets. Across the three games between the two sides this year, Embiid has put up 92 points and 34 rebounds.

#1 Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic has been the NBA MVP favorite for some time now
Nikola Jokic has been the NBA MVP favorite for some time now

MPG - 35.3, PPG - 26.2, APG - 8.7, RPG - 10.9, FG% - 56.8%

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 1st (-)

The Denver Nuggets now hold the same record as the Philadelphia 76ers. Not only does that speak a lot for the depth in the West, but it also makes Nikola Jokic's chances of becoming the NBA MVP even stronger.

Since our most recent power rankings, Jokic has put on a 47-point, 15-rebound show against the Memphis Grizzlies and led all scorers in a one-point win in Portland. The Serbian's improvement in his overall game means he is now the best passing center and arguably the most-rounded big man in the league.

Not only can Jokic score and rebound, but he also shoots the 3-ball at 40.5% on 3.3 attempts per game and drains 85.3% of free throws. He leads all centers in triple-doubles (15) by a margin of thirteen to the next best and has a league-leading win share of 13.1.

To put that into perspective, Antetokounmpo had a win share of 11.1 in his NBA MVP campaign last year and is the closest competitor to Jokic from this list with 8.7 this year.

Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar
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