Connect with us


NBA Most Valuable Player Watch – 12/8

Which players are currently leading the MVP race? Find out where you’re favorite player ranks.

Oliver Maroney



While the top of the MVP watch list hasn’t changed, we’ve got some newcomers closing out the top 10. As we’re about one-quarter through the season, the race is starting to become close and polarizing.

Each Thursday, Basketball Insiders drops our MVP rankings. How is your favorite player stacking up against the competition?

stockdown4510. Kemba WalkerΒ  (Last Week: 9)

Walker has been terrific for the Hornets this season. However, as the season has progressed, his statistics have slowly decreased. The Hornets currently sit at fourth in the Eastern Conference, winning three out of their last four games. Walker has been consistent, averaging 23.6 points, five assists and four rebounds. But in order to really put himself into the conversation, he’ll need to carry more of an offensive load with this team. While he has been very good defensively, he’s barely in the top-15 in scoring and hasn’t won enough to warrant more consideration.


stockdown459. Jimmy Butler (Last Week: 8)

Butler is still in the top 10 in scoring while leading this Chicago Bulls team to seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have struggled, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons last week. But Butler should be in the conversation based on his individual performance and early team success. While some of his contributions don’t show up on the stat sheet, Butler has still been impressive regardless of the statistics.


stockup458. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 10)

Lillard has moved up because his team is over .500 and Portland has won two of their last three games. While he isn’t on one of the NBA’s elite teams, he is averaging some incredible statistics and helping his squad win. Currently, Lillard is sixth in the league in scoring (28 points per game), while also averaging 5.6 assists and five rebounds per game. Lillard is the clear leader and number-one option on the young Blazers. In order for him to climb up the rankings, he needs to lift Portland higher in the standings.

stockup457. Stephen Curry (Last Week: N/A)

Wait, Stephen Curry wasn’t on this list last week?! Well, he’s back on now. After playing second fiddle to Kevin Durant early on in the season, he’s once again becoming a primary threat (at times) for the league’s best team. Even with a teammate like Durant, Curry is averaging 25.9 points, six assists and four rebounds per game. But what’s most impressive is his ability to take a back seat without letting it affect him negatively. He’s still shooting close to 50 percent from the field, making plays and creating for others while allowing Durant to become the primary option on this team. All signs point to Curry maturing as a player and being smarter as a teammate.


stockup456. DeMar DeRozan (Last Week: 7)Β 

DeRozan is still shooting 48 percent from the field and scoring 28 points per game (which is good for fifth in the league). This, on a team that’s second in the Eastern Conference at 14-7. They were on a six-game win streak before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers two nights ago, and DeRozan’s been their primary option. While he’s not the playmaker that Kyle Lowry is, DeRozan has been the consistent scoring threat night in and night out. If DeRozan starts to miss more shots or Lowry picks up a greater offensive load, then we may see Lowry on this list instead of DeRozan. For now, the former USC star is seemingly doing more for this Raptors team.

stockdown455. LeBron James (Last Week: 4)

Lowering James wasn’t due to flipping water bottles with his teammates on the bench. The Cleveland Cavaliers are 15-5 and have slipped up in a couple games in the past week. While James is arguably the best player in the league, voters will look for any reason to give the MVP trophy to someone else since they’re tired of crowning James. That means his team needs to be the absolute best in order for him to win this award. He’s still in the top-15 in scoring and continues to be the unselfish superstar we’ve come to love. But his numbers are always going to be taken for granted. Fair or not, James is held to a different standard.


stockup454. Kawhi Leonard (Last Week: 5)

Leonard has moved up this week because the San Antonio Spurs continue to win. Currently, the Spurs are one game behind the Golden State Warriors for the best team in the Western Conference at 18-4. Leonard is averaging the most points and steals on the Spurs, leading the second-best team in the league. As long as the Spurs keep winning and Leonard continues to be in the top-15 in scoring, he deserves to be high on the list of MVP candidates.

stocknochanges453. Kevin Durant (Last Week: 3)

The Golden State Warriors are continuing to play incredible team basketball. While Durant’s teammate Steph Curry is playing excellent basketball as well, Durant is seemingly doing more for this team. However, Durant has not only stood out on the offensive end, he’s been extremely impactful on the defensive end as well. Beyond hisΒ 26.5 points on 55 percent shooting, he’s also top-30 in steals and defensive rebounds while also averaging 1.5 blocks per game. Durant deserves to be in the conversation, but is probably in a tier just below behind James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

stocknochanges452. James Harden (Last Week: 2)

The Houston Rockets are currently playing some of the best team basketball in the league. Last week, they beat the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets in consecutive nights away from home. This week, they’ve won both of their games (against the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers) by an average of 20 points. The reason they’ve been so good is because of James Harden. His ability to make plays for his teammates, score at will and contribute on defense have been the difference maker for Houston. Harden is averaging 28.5 points, 11.4 assists and 7.5 rebounds while shooting over 45 percent from the field. There’s no question that Houston will go as far as Harden takes them.

stocknochanges451. Russell Westbrook (Last Week: 1)

Westbrook is continuing to put up monstrous numbers on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that’s won six straight games. Currently, Westbrook is averaging 31 points, 11.3 assists and 10.9 rebounds while playing close to 36 minutes per night. Even if the Thunder don’t make the top-four in the Western Conference, Westbrook has a very good chance at winning the MVP based on his statistical dominance alone. If he keeps this up, it’s going to be extremely hard to give the MVP trophy to anyone else.

Want more MVP discussion? Check out our latest podcast in which Chris Broussard and Oliver Maroney discuss the MVP race, trades that could happen and much more.Β 

Be sure to check out the latest MVP rankings every Thursday night on Basketball Insiders.

Oliver Maroney is an NBA writer for Basketball Insiders. He is based in Portland and covers the league as a whole.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders



From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to:


Continue Reading


#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz



With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

Continue Reading

Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler



What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:


Continue Reading
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries



Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now