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2022-23 NBA MVP Race: Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Still On Top, Jayson Tatum Is Rising

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2022-23 NBA MVP Race: Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Still On Top, Jayson Tatum Is Rising

We are back with our second round of MVP rankings for the 2022-23 season. Last time, we saw Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo ranked as the MVP and the runner-up in our rankings. A lot has happened in the previous 2 weeks, so we will have to see if those 2 still remain in our Top 3. There will be many of the same faces from our last rankings still among our Top 10, while there are a few newcomers to this list. These newcomers to our Top 10 have done enough over the previous 2 weeks to catapult themselves into the Top 10 of our MVP rankings.

As is always the case when we have any rankings or award ladders, there are a couple of honorable mentions to bring to the attention of our readers. Tyrese Haliburton is just on the cusp of cracking our Top 10 in the MVP race. Currently, he had led the Indiana Pacers to a 10-6 record while averaging over 20.0 PPG and over 10.0 APG. Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings have both excelled and stepped up their play as well, with the Kings at 9-6 on the year so far. They both deserve an honorable mention at this point in the 2022-23 season. Now that we covered the players who have just missed the cut, let’s talk about our Top 10.

Here are the Top 10 MVP candidates for the 2022-23 season so far.

10. Devin Booker

Devin Booker

2022-23 Stats: 27.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG

In our last rankings, Devin Booker came in at the No. 5 spot. Booker has been very effective for the Suns this season and has clearly taken the reins as the team’s best player. Once again, the Suns have somehow become underrated headed into the season. Over the past 20 games, Booker has shown that he and the Suns are ready to once again make a run toward the NBA Finals. Booker has the Suns headed for yet another top seed in the Western Conference, sitting at 10-6 and 2nd in the Western Conference.

The Suns have had a very up-and-down 2 weeks since we last dropped our MVP rankings, and the same goes for Devin Booker. The team has gone 3-3 since November 9th with wins against Minnesota, Golden State, and New York. Booker kicked off the second string of games toward our rankings with 32 points and 10 assists in a win vs. the Timberwolves on November 9th. In a loss to the Utah Jazz on November 18th, Booker had his best game of the year with 49 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 1-point loss.

9. Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell

2022-23 Stats: 29.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Donovan Mitchell is another player who has taken a major dip in position in our rankings. Two weeks ago, the Cavaliers, led by Mitchell, were 8-1 and looked like the best team in basketball. Since that time, the team had suffered a minor skid, losing 5 games in a row in recent days. The Cavs are 3-5 over the last 2 weeks and have answered the 5-game losing streak with a brand new 3-game winning streak.

Mitchell has been incredible for the Cavaliers in the 15 games he has played with them so far this season. He has had 3 30-point games over the past 2 weeks and added a 29-point, 10-rebound, 9-assist performance in a loss to the Warriors. In a win over the Hornets on November 18th, Mitchell had 34 points to add to his teammate Darius Garland’s 41. In his most recent game against the Hawks, Mitchell dropped 29 points and 9 assists to pull off a big win as far as the Eastern Conference standings go.

8. Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic

2022-23 Stats: 20.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG

The reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic remains exactly where he was 2 weeks ago at the No. 8 spot in our MVP rankings. Jokic has once again entered his name into the race as an elite scorer, rebounder, and passer from the center position. Jokic has the Nuggets at 10-6 overall, which ranks 3rd in the West at this point.

Since November 7th, when we last released our rankings, Jokic has played in 4 games but missed the last 3 due to health and safety protocols. In those 4 games that he played, Jokic had 2 games in which he scored over 20 points and dished out over 10 assists. The Nuggets went 3-1 in the games in which they had Jokic on the floor over the last 2 weeks and 1-2 in the games without him.

7. Ja Morant

Ja Morant Believes The Memphis Grizzlies Have The Best Backcourt In The NBA

2022-23 Stats: 28.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Headed into the 2022-23 season, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies were thought to be one-year wonders and fall off a cliff in the 2022-23 season. That has not been the case as Morant has led Memphis to one of the best records in basketball and heard toward another playoff berth as a higher seed. Morant suffered an ankle injury that has cost him 3 games over the last 2 weeks, which has hurt his chances of climbing higher on this list.

When he has been healthy, Morant has been incredible. He is currently averaging 28.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 7.1 APG in 14 starts. Of the 5 games he played over the last 2 weeks, Morant recorded over 30 points in three of them. This includes a monstrous game against the Pelicans on November 15th. In that game, Morant scored 36 points and grabbed 8 rebounds with 3 steals as well. If he can get back on the court in a timely manner, expect Morant to be higher in 2 weeks when we release our 3rd rankings list.

6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

2022-23 Stats: 31.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG

The first newcomer to our MVP rankings this season is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He has been incredible this season, scoring by the bundle and carrying an Oklahoma City Thunder team slowly out of the bottom of the league. Gilgeous-Alexander has been a scoring machine early 2022-23, recording more games with over 35 points this season than he had in his entire career previously.

The Thunder have gone 3-5 since we released our first MVP rankings 2 weeks ago, but Gilgeous-Alexander has been on a tear. Of the 8 games he has played since that date, Shai has recorded 6 games of 30 points or more. He is one of 7 players in the NBA who is currently averaging over 30.0 PPG on the season. On November 16th against the Wizards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his best game of the season with 42 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists in a shocking victory over the well-balanced Wizards.

5. Joel Embiid

NBA Analyst Says Joel Embiid Is The Heavy Favorite For The 2022-23 MVP Award: "I Strongly Believe This, James Harden Is Going To Help Him Get It Done."

2022-23 Stats: 32.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG,4.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.8 BPG

Joel Embiid is another newcomer to this week’s MVP rankings, as he just missed the cut in week one. Embiid has the 76ers looking like a true contender once again in 2022-23 after just missing out on the MVP award in 2022 and 2021. Despite the injury to James Harden for Philadelphia, Embiid has stepped up big time to keep them afloat respectably in 2022-23 early going.

Embiid recently suffered an injury to his foot that may affect his ranking in the coming weeks, but over the past two, he has been unstoppable. His MVP ranking really took shape when he recorded a 42- point game against the Hawks and a 59-point performance against the Jazz on back-to-back nights. Added to his 59-point masterpiece were 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and an incredible 7 blocks.

4. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

2022-23 Stats: 32.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG

One of the biggest stories in the early going of the 2022-23 season has been the struggles of the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors currently sit at 8-10 on the season and 11th in the Western Conference. The one bright spot for them has been, once again, the incredible play of their former MVP Stephen Curry. With his insane efficiency on an even more insane volume, Curry has kept the Warriors from sinking more rapidly all by himself.

Curry is shooting the lights out so far during the 2022-23 season. He has attempted over 20 shots per game overall and is shooting 52.9% from the field. His 3-point shooting is as good as it has ever been, with Curry attempting 11.8 shots from beyond the arc per game and hitting them at 44.7%. Curry has been looking like his 2015 MVP and 2016 unanimous MVP self again, which spells trouble for the league if the rest of the Warriors can right the ship.

3. Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum

2022-23 Stats: 30.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 4.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Jayson Tatum makes a jump to No. 3 this week in our MVP rankings as the best player on the best team in basketball at this current moment. Tatum cracked our first list at No. 7 and did plenty over the past 2 weeks to make the jump to three. Currently, Tatum is averaging career-highs in points, assists, and field goal percentage to lead Boston to the NBA’s best record at 13-4 to begin the 2022-23 season.

Since we released our last MVP rankings, Tatum has led the Celtics to a 7-1 record over their last 8 games. He had 4 straight games on this stretch in which he went for over 30 points but also recorded 2 games of under 20 points as of late. Tatum’s big performance over the last 2 weeks came on November 12th on the road against the Pistons. Tatum recorded 43 points and 10 rebounds in the Celtics' victory.

2. Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

2022-23 Stats: 33.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG

If there has been any player that has embodied the worst “most valuable” over the past 2 weeks, it has been Luka Doncic. Luka has kept the Mavericks from hitting the panic button early on this season and kept them afloat with a 9-7 record and just 2 games back in the Western Conference. Doncic has been doing it all for the Mavericks for the entirety of the 2022-23 season so far and making history in the process.

In the last 2 weeks since we published our first set of rankings, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks went 5-4 over 9 games. Doncic recorded 3 triple-doubles and 4 games of over 30 points. His best performance came on November 12th against the Portland Trail Blazers. Doncic recorded 42 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in a big standings shakeup. Doncic’s usage rate is at an extremely high rate right now, and Dallas needs to be careful with their franchise cornerstone if they will repeat last season’s success.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

2022-23 Stats: 30.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG

Remaining at the No. 1 spot for the second ranking in a row is Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis has once again been the best player in the NBA on both sides of the ball, and Milwaukee has benefited greatly from his presence, per usual. Although he missed a few games due to injury, Antetokounmpo showed no signs of slowing down upon his return to the court later on in the week. The Bucks are currently 12-4 on the season and rank 2nd in the East, just a half-game behind Boston.

Over their past 8 games since the release of the last rankings, the Bucks went 3-5 in 8 games played. Giannis missed 2 of those games with a minor injury in which the Bucks went 1-1. On November 21st vs. Portland, Giannis had his best game of the season when he recorded 37 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals in the victory. If the Bucks can continue to hover around the top of the East and Giannis can average over 30.0 PPG and over 10.0 RPG with elite interior defense, then expect him to continue to be at the top of our bi-weekly MVP rankings.

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