There are many changes in this week’s NBA MVP ladder race as a few players rise up to the top 5 list. Nikola Jokic continues to remain at the No. 1 spot after he overtook Joel Embiid after All-Star weekend. Embiid returns to the NBA after he missed 10 games since March 12. He scored 24 points on his night on return. Let’s see if Joel Embiid will reclaim his No. 1 spot.
Giannis Antetokoumpo was making a steady climb on the NBA MVP ladder last week by overtaking Damian Lillard No. 2 spots, but Damian Lillard took back his No. 2 this week, along with James Harden rising to the top 5 lists.
Continue to read on how the top 5 players on the MVP ladder help their team achieve victory.
1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
- No. 3 on Last Week’s Ranking
- 2020-21 Stat Per Game: 49 G, 26.3 PTS, 11.0 TRB, 8.6 AST, 56.6% FG%, 42.7% FG3%
Jokic continues to lead the NBA MVP ladder for three weeks since he overtook Joel Embiid. Not only is the 26-year-old center from Denver Nugget grabbed over 10 boards per game, but he also leads the team in point per game and assists per game. Jokic already has 12 triple-doubles this season, and he had 13 triple-doubles in the 2019-20 season.
Jokic leads the Nuggets to 4th ranking on NBA Western Conference standings with 31 wins and 18 losses. Nuggets dominate Philadelphia 76ers on the recent matchup under the basket without Embiid and outscored the 76ers inside the paint 44-32.
Nuggets continue to win with the new addition of Aaron Gordon (who’s averaged 14.3 ppg and 4.8 rpg since he joined Nugget) during the trade deadline.
2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
- No. 3 on Last week’s ranking
- 2020-21 Stat Per Game: 47 G, 29.6 PTS, 4.3 TRB, 7.7 AST, 44.8% FG%, 38.2 FG3%
Lillard was No. 2 rank 2 weeks ago after Antetokoumpo took his spot in last week’s ranking. He is the current second on NBA’s leading scorer follow after Bradley Beal in Washington Wizards. He is only leading Stephen Curry (No. 3) by a small margin. Lillard leads the Blazers to sixth place in the Western Conference. He was also one of the top clutch finishers in the 2020-21 season with a winning shot at the buzzer.
Even though the Blazers’ team is battling with multiple injuries to the players like Zach Collins out with ankle injury on Feb. 3, and Derrick Jones Jr. with a day-to-day status, but Lillard believes the Blazers will pull it through in the Western Conference struggle.
3. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
- No. 6 on Last Week’s ranking
- 2020-21 Stat Per Game: 41 G, 25.9 PTS, 8.2 TRB, 11.1 AST, 46.3 FG%, 35.9 FG3%
Harden raised from rank 6 last week to No. 3 spots, but then he may not remain on this spot for long since he did not play against Chicago Bulls on April 4, 2021, due to right hamstring tightness. Head coach Steve Nash is concerned about Harden’s injury which won’t keep him out of the game for too long.
Harden helps the Nets on a 26-7 run since he joined the Nets at the beginning of the year. And they’re the first rank in Eastern Conference. Nets is pack with powerhouse with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jame Harden, and recently acquired Blake Griffin (averages 8.8 ppg and 5 rpg) and LaMarcus Aldridge (averages 10 ppg and 6 rpg).
4. Giannis Antetokoumpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- No. 2 on Last Week’s ranking
- 2020-21 Stat Per Game: 45 G, 28 PTS, 11.4 TRB, 6.2 AST, 56.5 FG%, 30.2 FG3%
Anetokoumpo drop from the No. 2 spots to the 4th rank after Lillard reclaimed his No.2 spot and Jame Harden rises from the 6th spot. He chose to stay in Bucks instead of joining the previous NBA Champion La Lakers. Antetokoumpo has been a scoring machine inside the paint and outside the paint with a double-double in points and rebounds every game. He also has 7 total triple-double for the season. Anetokoumpo helps the Bucks to third place in Eastern Conference, and they have got the first rank before the Nets improve on their rosters.
He improves in his long-range shot with a 10% increase in his three points accuracy (39.4%).
5. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- No. 7 on Last Week’s ranking
- 2020-21 Stat Per Game: 44 G, 28.6 PTS, 8.1 TRB, 8.8 AST, 48.6 FG%, 37.6 FG3%
Doncic has been in the highlight since his debut. His buzzer-beater stepback shot from the 2020 playoff game proved his worth in Mavericks. The owner of Mavericks made an open statement that he would choose Luka Doncic over his wife. Doncic had 17 triple-double in the 2019-20 regular season, and he already had 9 triple-double this season. Mavericks lost a back-to-back game in March where coincidentally Doncic have missed those two games. He returned the next game and led the Mavericks to victory. He led the team to rank 7th in Western Conference.
Doncic was almost unstoppable in March. He averaged 29.4 points per game, 52.7% in field-goals percentage, and 43.3% behind the 3-pointers.
6. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
7. Joel Embiid Philadephia 76ers
8. Kawhi Leonard, La Clippers
9. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
10. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
NBA MVP ladder race is one of the rankings many follow on a weekly basis because the ranking changes daily. But this makes it more exciting to follow your favorite players on the list. For example, Joel Embiid was 1st for continued weeks until the injury that causes him 10 continuous games. He returns this week with a strong performance. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he returns to the top 5 on the NBA MVP race. Please continue to stay tuned for the weekly updates on the MVP race.
You May Want to Read: