A month ago, it appeared that James Harden was going to run away with the MVP award. With Kevin Durant ailing, the Brooklyn Nets were sailing with the play of Harden. However, an injury has hampered his play as of late, while others have taken great strides to improve their stock in the MVP race.
LeBron James, the once upon a time favorite, has not played since March 20th but remains in the top-10. Steph Curry's historic April has moved him to a top-5 candidate, while the two best big men in the NBA remain supreme at the top. Here are your latest top-10 power rankings for the MVP.
26.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Mitchell is starting to heat up, which makes the No. 1 seed Jazz even more dangerous. The Jazz own the best record in the NBA and while the defense has highlighted that team, Mitchell is back to his offensive explosiveness.
Mitchell had back-to-back 42-point games in a three-day stretch in middle April. He had a 41-point game just five days before his first 42-point outburst. The Jazz are 26-4 at home, so assuming the Jazz can hold onto this No. 1 seed, we will likely see an even better Mitchell come playoff team. Being in the top-1o for the MVP voting is likely not on Mitchell's radar. He is more worried about that NBA Finals MVP.
10. Luka Doncic
28.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Doncic has improved his stock from honorable mention to top-10. He could continue to rise through the power rankings if his Mavericks continue to rise in the playoff standings.
April was a good month for Doncic. He had a game-winning three-point field goal over the Grizzlies. He nearly had a 20-20 double-double with 22 points and 19 assists against the Knicks. He was one assist off from a triple-double against the Pistons. Doncic is reminding us of vintage Russell Westbrook, which means an MVP is likely in his future one day.
9. LeBron James
25.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
LeBron hasn't played in a month, but you can clearly see what he means to the Lakers. The Lakers were once contending for the No. 1 seed. Now, without LeBron and Anthony Davis, the team has fallen to the No. 5 seed in the West. The team is clearly missing their superstar.
LeBron will be back soon and likely has his mind on the playoffs. The Lakers are going to be one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs if both LeBron and Davis are back healthy. If LeBron doesn't come back soon, not only will the Lakers be in danger of the Mavericks passing them in the standings, he could drop out of the top-10 power rankings.
8. Chris Paul
16.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 8.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Paul is not going to win the MVP, but he deserves to be mentioned as one of the best players in the league. Last year, the Suns nearly made the playoffs after their miraculous bubble run. With the addition of Paul, the Suns are 42-18, the No. 2 seed in the West, and just two games back of the Jazz for the best record in all of the NBA.
Oddsmakers do not believe the Suns are a top-5 team to win the NBA despite their regular-season success. In the last week, the Suns have beaten the 76ers and the Bucks. Don't count out the Suns when the lights are on. Paul has this team believing in themselves.
7. James Harden
25.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 11.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Harden hasn't played since April 4. His month of March was pure showtime. It was triple-doubles left and right. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were in and out of the lineup, but it didn't matter because Harden was leading this team to the No. 1 seed.
The Nets are 41-20 this season. The team has not had their big three on the court at the same time for more than a week it feels like. Harden could shoot back to the top-5 if he comes back and leads the Nets to the No. 1 seed. Missing nearly all of April has all but doomed his chances of winning the MVP.
6. Kawhi Leonard
25.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Leonard is a product of a tough April. He has played in only one of the last eight games for the Clippers. He hasn't played 30 or more minutes since April 9. The Clippers are playing the caution game, knowing that the playoffs matter more than now.
The Clippers are the No. 3 seed in the West and are 2 games out of the No. 1 seed. Leonard could get some top-3 votes if he returns and leads the Clippers to the No. 1 overall seed. Shoutout to Paul George, who has helped man the Clippers in his absence as the team is 9-1 in their last 10 games.
5. Damian Lillard
28.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 7.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Lillard's stock has taken a hit in April. The Trail Blazers are losing contested games and have fallen to the No. 7 seed. Lillard has shot 33-of-95 from three-point range in his last 10 games. All in all, it hasn't felt like "Dame Time."
It still doesn't push back what Lillard did before April. We have seen Lillard put on a show, specifically in the bubble, when it really counts. With the NBA season heading down to the final stretch, maybe Lillard can find some of that old magic he once had.
4. Steph Curry
31.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Steph Curry is going to be a top-5 MVP vote-getter this season despite the Warriors hoisting a .508 record. Thanks to one of the best April's we have ever seen, Curry looked like his 2016 version of himself when he was a unanimous MVP.
In April, Curry had point totals of 41, 53, 42, 47, and 49. His 47 and 49 point totals came on back-to-back games two days apart. The Warriors are missing key pieces in Klay Thompson and James Wiseman. In the end, Curry is keeping Golden State relevant and a dark horse in the playoffs if the team can make it.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
28.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG
The three-peat appears to be out of reach for Giannis. While his numbers are stellar, the Bucks as a team are not producing. The Bucks are the No. 3 seed but are only 3.5 games out of first place. If the Bucks can go on a run, headlined by stellar play from Giannis, then he could catapult to the top. That doesn't look like it's going to happen. Giannis is down in points and rebounds compared to last year's MVP season.
No player has won an MVP three years in a row since Larry Bird in the mid-80s. That record appears to be held by Bird alone for a couple more years.
2. Joel Embiid
30.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Had Joel Embiid not missed time due to injury, Embiid would be in the lead. The problem is that Jokic has more double-doubles this season than Embiid has games played. By the end of the year, Embiid's more than likely going to be the MVP runner-up.
The Philadelphia 76ers are contending for the No. 1 seed in the East and Embiid has a lot to do with that. The problem is that Jokic has played 59 games, while Embiid has played only 41.
1. Nikola Jokic
26.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG
We saw Jokic remain supreme on the Memphis Grizzlies as of late with his 47-point, 15-rebound masterpiece. He is no doubt the best passing center in the league and is playing his basketball as of late. The Nuggets were once looking on the outside of the playoff standings but now control the No. 4 seed.
Without Jamal Murray, making a deep run in the playoffs does not look likely. With that said, Jokic is putting this team on his back. While he may not average a triple-double this season, his 8.7 assists per game for a center are impressive, as well as his 40% three-point shooting percentage. If the season ended today, Jokic would be the MVP of the league.