Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

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We have reached the halfway mark of the 2022-23 NBA season, with voting pools for each of the end of season awards beginning to take shape such as MVP.

In 2022, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic secured back-to-back MVP honours and etched his name into the history books as arguably the greatest offensive big man of all-time.

This season, the race to win MVP is anticipated to be the closest in years with a handful of candidates all in contention to take home the award, recently renamed The Michael Jordan Trophy.

According to NBA betting site BetOnline, there is no odds-on favorite to win MVP yet, unlike a lot of the other end-of-season NBA awards and the contest is wide open.

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

10: Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans, 25-16)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is ranked as the 10th leading MVP candidate, averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with 29 appearances this season.

The Pelicans currently occupy third place in the Western Conference despite Williamson and fellow star Brandon Ingram missing chunks of the season through injury.

Zion’s 61% field goal percentage is the 13th-best in the league and the 22-year-old is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s best young players with sky-high potential.

9: Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors, 20-21)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

The 2022 NBA Finals MVP is one of nine players posting 29+ points per game in the NBA this season, averaging 43% shooting from outside the arc, 49% from the field and 91% at the free throw line.

Curry’s true shooting percentage of 66.1% this season ranks as one of the best in NBA history amongst players averaging 20+ points per game but has missed a chunk of the campaign with a shoulder injury,

The 34-year-old is having a statistically stronger season than his unanimous MVP campaign in 2016.

8: Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers, 26-16)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is enjoying an extremely dominant period, averaging 38.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 7 assists per game in the month of January on 52.7% shooting from the field.

The 26-year-old has hit the second-most threes (143) in the NBA this season, behind only Indiana Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield (165) and is shooting the long ball at an efficient 40%.

Mitchell recorded one of the best performances in NBA history earlier this month, posting the first ever game with 70 points and 10 assists – becoming the 5th player to score 70 in a game.

7: Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies, 28-13)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Ja Morant has led the Memphis Grizzlies to the joint-best record in the Western Conference at 28-13, tying the Denver Nuggets at the top with eight straight wins.

Averaging 27.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, Morant’s offensive skillset is one of the most balanced and well-rounded in the NBA alongside possessing strong leadership qualities at the young age of 23.

Morant is one of three players in the top ten in points per game and assists per game and has the most 30/5/5 games by a Grizzlies player of all-time (27), four more than the next three combined (23).

6: Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers, 25-15)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid is leading the NBA in points per minute this season (minimum 100 minutes played), ranking second in points per game (33.6) alongside 9.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

The 28-year-old’s only downside is his troublesome health problems and would need a consistent season of at least 70 games played to be considered as a serious MVP candidate.

Earlier this week, Embiid became the first player in NBA history to post at least 35 points and ten rebounds in fewer than 35 minutes against the Detroit Pistons and also leads the league in 40-point games over the last three seasons.

5: Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets, 27-13)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant passed Dominique Wilkins to move to 14th on the NBA’s career scoring list in Miami last week before suffering an MCL sprain – he started the season in 21st place.

Durant has the third-highest true shooting percentage in history by a player with 20+ points per game in a season this year with 67.3%, behind only Steph Curry (67.5%, 2018) and Nikola Jokic (68.7%, this season).

The former Golden State Warrior’s career averages in points, rebounds and assists per game have increased since he came back from his achilles injury.

4: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, 27-14)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of two players in the NBA this season with 1,000+ points and 400+ rebounds, averaging 31 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the Eastern Conference’s 3rd-seed Milwaukee Bucks.

The 28-year-old is also averaging the second-most 4th quarter points in the league (8.5) and is also a candidate to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award alongside teammate Brook Lopez.

The ‘Greek Freak’ is one of ten players to record a 50-point game this season and last week became the first player to total 200+ points, 80+ rebounds and 30+ assists over a five-game span since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972.

3: Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics, 30-12)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Jayson Tatum is doing something no Boston Celtic has ever achieved in a full season – averaging over 30 points per game.

Not only is the 24-year-old scoring the ball in elite fashion, he has the defense to match also and is arguably the most valuable player in the NBA today with an emphasis on the importance of two-way wings.

Following the Celtics’ fourth straight victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Tatum marked his 13th straight game with at least 25 points and has scored the most points ever by a Celtic in the first half of the season.

The former Duke star is gunning for revenge after an underwhelming NBA Finals performance in June and has responded in the manner that all elite players do.

2: Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets, 28-13)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is in line for a third successive MVP award and is once again posting historic stats each night for the joint-number one seed in the Western Conference.

The Serbian is averaging a 25-point triple-double on 63% shooting from the field over the last two months and ranks first in PER, +/-, VORP and WS – the king of advanced stats.

Jokic’s 68.7 true shooting percentage this season is the highest by a player averaging 20+ points per game in a season and is racking up the most assists and points per game on 60+ FG% ever by a center.

1: Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks, 23-19)

Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates

Luka Doncic leads the NBA in scoring with 34.3 points per game and ranks second in the league in triple-doubles with nine, behind only Jokic with 11.

The Slovenian guard has the most games with 30+ points this season (29) ahead of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24), Tatum (22) and Giannis (21).

The 23-year-old recently posted the first 60/20/10 game of all-time and is one of four players to record a 5+ rebound and 5+ assist first quarter in the league this season alongside averaging 39.1 points per game since Christmas.

He is top five in points, assists and steals per game whilst leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 23-19 record in the Western Conference, fifth-best behind the Sacramento Kings, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Nuggets.