Updated: May 31
KIA NBA MVP Race: DeRozan and Morant join the race
Written by: Andrew Felton
With the injury to Chris Paul and Ja Morant playing some of the best basketball of the season, two new players have entered the race for the MVP award, making this a close contest, as we head down the final stretch of regular season games.
5. Ja Morant, (Memphis Grizzlies)
Moving back into the top five and replacing Stephen Curry, is the Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant. Athletic, exciting and powerful, Morant is really stepping up for the Grizzlies and taking this franchise to the top. Currently averaging 27.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 6.6 apg, Morant is lighting up the league with his outrageous dunks and points scoring, with recent games against Celtics, Spurs, Bulls and the Trail Blazers scoring 38, 52, 46 and 44 points. Come the end of the regular season, Morant could be challenging the big men for this award and has also led the Grizzlies to the second spot in the Western Conference.
4. DeMar DeRozan, (Chicago Bulls)
Taking Chris Paul's spot at number four is 32 year old DeMar DeRozan, who is having a fantastic season with the Chicago Bulls. Playing a massive part for this team and racking up the playing time, DeRozan is averaging 28.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 5.1 apg. DeRozan went on a run of 10 games scoring 30+ points and was announced February's Eastern Conference Player of the Month, averaging 34.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 5.2 apg. The Bulls currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference and have struggled in recent games with four straight losses. However, with this MVP race so close, DeRozan can still make a charge up the ladder.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, (Milwaukee Bucks)
Giannis has kept the third spot on the ladder this week, thanks to him racking up his 35th double-double this season in a win against the Chicago Bulls. Giannis also played his part in a win against the Miami Heat, where the Bucks came from 14 points down in the last half of the fourth quarter, to give them their 38th win in the league and sit third behind the 76ers and the Miami Heat. Giannis is still pushing for the number one spot and is currently one of only two players who are currently averaging 25+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists for the season.
2. Joel Embiid, (Philadelphia 76ers)
Embiid stays second in the race for this MVP award and the link up with James Harden is only helping his chances. Sitting second in the Eastern Conference, a loss to the Heat was not ideal with them stretching their lead as number one seed, however with Embiid reaching 31 double-doubles for the season and currently leading the league in ppg with 29.5, Embiid will not back down, looking for his first league MVP award.
1. Nikola Jokic, (Denver Nuggets)
Still sitting at the top spot, Nikola Jokic has been on a charge with the Nuggets winning six of their last seven games, notching his 50th double-double of the season, which he has now done for the third time in his career. Struggling from 3-point land for the last three games, having 10 attempts with a 0% success rate and down on scoring, Jokic will be grateful for his injured teammates to return with Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray hoping to return before play-offs. With the Nuggets currently sitting sixth in the Western conference, the number one spot is possibly under threat.