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Kia NBA MVP Race: Latest Power Rankings - May 3rd, 2021

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been a joy to watch this season.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been a joy to watch this season.
ANALYST
Modified 04 May 2021
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With less than a fortnight of action left in the regular season, the NBA MVP award looks all but sewn up. However, our power rankings continue to fluctuate as the league's superstars strive to get their sides into a better seeding.

Our top five candidates for the award have not changed, though. Luka Doncic and Steph Curry have been immense this week, each averaging over 30 points a game. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a cool 49 points against the Brooklyn Nets after overcoming an injury scare on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic has led a Jamal Murray-less Denver Nuggets to the West's third seed and looks set to be only the third European player to win the award.

2020-21 NBA MVP - Latest Power Rankings

The race for the NBA MVP award has been an enticing one all season. Several players have surged and waned, while Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid have looked consistent throughout the campaign. Both centers have evolved their games dramatically, and there is reason to believe they could dominate the NBA for years to come.

Even with elite shooters such as Steph Curry and Bradley Beal averaging over 30 points a night, Embiid and Jokic have caused opposition nightmares on both sides of the ball. Their respective teams have identical records on the season as each player strives to pick up their first career ring.

There can only be one winner, though. Now that we are entering the final stages of the campaign, it is time to consider the credentials of the contenders. On that note, let's dive into our latest power rankings for the 2021 NBA MVP award.

#5 Steph Curry

Golden State Warriors leader Steph Curry
Golden State Warriors leader Steph Curry

MPG - 34.0, PPG - 31.3, APG - 5.8, RPG - 5.5, FG% - 48.6%.

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 5th (โ†“2).

Steph Curry is undoubtedly one of the contenders for the 2021 NBA MVP award. He has had an incredible season and an even more incredible month for the Golden State Warriors. His tally of 96 threes in April was one of the greatest scoring streaks the league has ever seen.

What may stand in Curry's way of a second NBA MVP award is the fact that despite his exploits, the Golden State Warriors could miss out on the playoffs. But the 33-year-old has more than played his part. He is the leading scorer in the 2020-21 NBA; he has also been one of the most efficient shooters, connecting with over 90% of his free throws.

The point guard has the scoring prowess to see off any opponent. Should Golden State Warriors make the postseason, Curry is a player any team would want to avoid facing. If GSW reach the postseason, there could be an enthralling duel between Curry and LeBron James, and that could also happen in the play-in tournament.


#4 Luka Doncic

Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks' young star Luka Doncic

MPG - 35.2, PPG - 28.6, APG - 8.9, RPG - 8.0, FG% - 48.6%.

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 5th (โ†‘1).

The Dallas Mavericks have been surging, thanks to Luka Doncic's brilliance. Capitalizing on the struggles of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Mavs jumped both the Blazers and the slumping LA Lakers to ascend to the Western Conference's fifth seed.

Doncic has continued to dazzle the NBA with his offensive flair and has shown all of the traits to become a future MVP winner.

Following our power rankings last week, Doncic was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. He followed that up by out-dueling Steph Curry with 39 points as the Dallas Mavericks routed the Golden State Warriors by a whopping 30 points on Tuesday.

At the weekend, the young guard put in one of his most impressive displays of the season against the red-hot Washington Wizards. In a thrilling one-point win, Doncic had a monster stat-line of 31-20-12, proving his NBA MVP credentials once again in no uncertain terms.


#3 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks 'former NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo

MPG - 33.1, PPG - 28.4, APG - 5.9, RPG - 11.1, FG% - 56.8%.

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 4th (โ†‘1).

If anybody had forgotten what Giannis Antetokounmpo is capable of, the two-time NBA MVP put on a show against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night. That may have come too late for the Greek Freak to win the award for the third time, but he has once again enjoyed a stellar campaign for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo put up 49 points and eight rebounds against the Nets in what could be a precursor to a playoff matchup. The 26-year-old center proved on the night that he could be the deciding factor in any game and often, there is little opposition defenses can do to stop him when Antetokounmpo is on song.

If the Milwaukee Bucks wish to have a deep postseason run this year, Antetokounmpo's leadership would be key.

He has been outstanding on both sides of the ball this season. Not only has he matched his career-best offensive rating of 121, but he has also grabbed over a block and a steal every game. Antetokounmpo ranks among the top five players for points per game and is in the top ten for +/-, rebounds and double-doubles this campaign.


#2 Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has been dominant all season for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Joel Embiid has been dominant all season for the Philadelphia 76ers.

MPG - 31.6, PPG - 29.3, APG - 3.0, RPG - 10.8, FG% - 51.2%.

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 2nd (-).

Joel Embiid has slipped down the reckoning for the NBA MVP award this season. His points and rebounds have diminished, and the fact that he ranks outside the top 125 players for minutes played could hinder his credentials for the coveted award.

Nevertheless, Embiid has been key for the Philadelphia 76ers' success this season, helping them to the top seed in the East. He has a frightening presence in the paint and is extremely effective in deterring opponents' offense, which is evident in him grabbing 1.4 blocks per game this campaign.

At the other end of the floor, Embiid is having a career season. His shooting averages are at an all-time high; he has drained 37.6% of his threes and is scoring over 50% of his field goals. He has also got to the line a staggering 11.1 times per matchup and is scoring 85.4% of his attempts.

Considering his size and strength, the Cameroonian is one of the top players in bullying opponents down low as he seeks to help the 76ers make a deep postseason run.


#1 Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic has led the NBA MVP race for most of the season.
Nikola Jokic has led the NBA MVP race for most of the season.

MPG - 35.0, PPG - 26.2, APG - 8.5, RPG - 10.9, FG% - 56.8%.

Previous NBA MVP Power Rankings - 1st (-).

There hasn't been a player more consistent than Nikola Jokic this season. Ever since Donovan Mitchell, his right-hand man in terms of points and creativity, has been sidelined, Jokic has led the Denver Nuggets to nine wins in ten games.

Since our last NBA MVP power rankings, the 26-year-old has had two 30-point nights and three double-doubles in Denver's four wins. That included a monster 30-point, 14-rebound performance at the Staples Center against the Clippers.

The Serbian's game goes far beyond his size and shooting accuracy, though.

Jokic's creativity has been a joy to watch this season; his 8.5 assists per night is the seventh-best in the league. The workload he has taken on has also been staggering; he is averaging 35 minutes and has the highest win share in the NBA this season, so far.

At this point, the MVP race looks all but settled, and Jokic would be thoroughly deserving of the award.

Published 03 May 2021
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