If you weren't too pleased with the level of basketball in the preseason, the start of the 2020-21 NBA campaign will come as a sigh of relief. Superstars will be back to usual intensity once the ball tips off on the opening night and fans will be hoping to see their favorites in the weekly NBA power rankings that follow.
NBA Power Rankings: Outlining the MVP candidates with an outside chance
While the Luka Doncics and Giannis Antetokounmpos of the world will dominate NBA power rankings, like always, an unexpected name or two will join the MVP race. These players aren't favorites on paper for winning the most prestigious award of the regular season but have the caliber to produce outlandish numbers on the court.
On that note, here are our NBA power rankings for the five dark horse candidates in the 2020-21 regular season MVP sweepstakes.
#5 Devin Booker
Devin Booker would've quite clearly been the bubble MVP had a certain Damian Lillard also not been on a rampage in Orlando. He averaged 30.5 points per game on over 50% shooting from the field during that run and is ready to take things forward from there.
Booker has also given a good account of himself in the preseason, showing a marked improvement in his court vision. The presence of Chris Paul means that he'll have an on-court mentor to improve his game overall.
Uncertainty over the Phoenix Suns' ability to manage a high playoff seed is the only thing stopping Booker from soaring higher in the NBA power rankings for now.
#4 Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler's scoring average has hovered around the 20 points per game mark over the last few years. While that's not nearly enough for the MVP award, it's his multifaceted game and overall grit that sees him feature in our NBA power rankings.
Butler averaged 26.2 points, 9.8 assists, and 8.3 rebounds during the 2020 NBA Finals, meaning that he has an adequate reserve to dig deep if need be.
The Miami Heat are in a brilliant position yet again after keeping hold of their core from last year and adding a few promising names via draft and free agency. If the Heat dominate the East, there's no reason why Jimmy Buckets shouldn't be in the running for the MVP honors.