The NBA season is well underway and most teams have played a minimum of 10 games. While it is still early to tell, we have a solid idea of the standings on both conferences. The Golden State Warriors have looked supremely dominant in the West, and the Brooklyn Nets have been playing better ball as the games go by. Other than these two teams, Utah is playing top-level basketball in the West while Chicago and Washington have been massive surprises in the East as well.
But which players have stood out the most so far? Each one of these aforementioned teams has star power and a name that immediately comes to mind for NBA fans. While the season is still very young, it is time to share the current MVP rankings. These players have been the best for their teams and have had the most impact in the season so far, whether it is via offense or on-court leadership. There is still plenty of basketball to be played, so things can change in as little as a month. But as things stand, these are the players most likely to earn the MVP award based on their production this year.
10. Joel Embiid
2021-2022 Statistics: 21.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Joel Embiid has not been at his statistical best so far this season but has nonetheless been a spectacular leader for the Philadelphia 76ers amid the Ben Simmons drama. The 76ers have an 8-5 record, which is good for 4th despite their second-best player acting up a storm. Embiid has come out and spoken publicly on how the team’s chemistry is excellent, and the big man is at the heart of that. Anytime your best player shows confidence and belief in the team, the rest will follow.
We all know that last season’s MVP runner-up will soon be back to his dominant self. Embiid scores, defends, and rebounds at a superstar level, and the quality of players around him will make him more deadly. The big man is only averaging 30.0 MPG to start the season and has played in 9 games, but there is no doubt his impact off the court has been huge for Philly.
9. Zach LaVine
2021-2022 Statistics: 25.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG
One of the game’s most spectacular dunkers, Zach LaVine has improved every aspect of his game over the past few seasons. The shooting guard can score from outside, has the agility to get to the rim, and is playing like an MVP candidate at this moment. His teammate, DeMar DeRozan, deserves a shoutout for his own terrific play but he was the one who joined LaVine’s team in the offseason. Because of Zach, the Bulls had a strong base to start improving the team with the likes of Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball coming on board.
LaVine’s 3-point percentages are down (33.8% from 41.9%), but a lot of stars are having this issue at the moment. Other than that, LaVine has been a spectacular offensive player that will likely lead the Bulls to a top-4 seeding in the Eastern Conference by the end of the year. Chicago has an 8-3 record which is tied for the #1 seed, and LaVine’s play is a massive reason for that.
8. Paul George
2021-2022 Statistics: 26.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Paul George has continued his sensational play stemming from last season’s playoffs. The All-Star promised a comeback season last year and he hasn't disappointed until now. George is playing like his MVP self and the Clippers are once again in playoff seeding in the West. The 7-time All-Star is still one of the best 2-way players in the NBA and if he continues his level of play, the Clippers will be a playoff team without Kawhi Leonard.
That doesn’t mean George and the clippers will win anything without Leonard, but the team will be decent enough until the 2-time Finals MVP returns to full health. There is no doubt that George has been a sensational leader for Los Angeles this season, and his performances have earned him a spot on the MVP rankings.
7. Rudy Gobert
2021-2022 Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 15.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 BPG
Even the biggest Rudy Gobert haters cannot deny that the Frenchman has been absolutely dominant in the paint for the Jazz this year. He is nearly averaging 16 RPG, an astonishing number for a player that has been called too “finesse” in the past. The big man is also putting up 14.6 PPG and he has formed a dominant duo with Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are playing at the level they played at last year, holding an 8-4 record which is good for 3rd in the Western Conference.
So far this season, Rudy has been the most dominant defensive player. He is blocking nearly 2 shots per game, is hauling rebounds against any opponent, and is contesting shots left and right. Because of Gobert, the Jazz are one of the most difficult teams to play against and the big man has earned his spot on the MVP Power Rankings through 12 games.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2020-20201 Statistics: 26.6 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Giannis has been excellent as usual, and his statistics are as jaw-dropping as ever. The Greek Freak has a tall task ahead of him to win league MVP for the third time, but based on what we have been seeing from him over the past few years, it is very possible. The Bucks are still waiting to get fully healthy because they have been going through the motions with a 6-6 record. Quite frankly, no one is really worried about them anyway.
The reigning NBA champions have the most dominant player in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he has shown the ability to turn it on when it matters most. Even if the Bucks are at .500 so far, Giannis has been a spectacular individual talent and continues to show new areas of his game every season. The Greek Freak is looking outside the top-5 in the rankings because the 5 guys ahead of him have been scintillating to start the year.
5. Ja Morant
2021-2022 Statistics: 26.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Ja Morant is looking like a lock for Most Improved Player because he is playing like an elite-level superstar. Memphis were expected to be an up-and-coming team with Morant improving, but they actually look like a playoff team to start the season. The Grizzlies have some nice talent, but they will go as far as their superstar point guard takes them.
The 22-year old is averaging career-highs in scoring, rebounding, and shooting percentages. Morant is shooting 34.5% this season from three, 48.5% from the field, and 77.9% from the stripe. Those numbers will work as long as he is averaging over 26 PPG, and he is playing in a more controlled manner this year. Morant has drawn comparisons to a young Russell Westbrook because of his athleticism, but he is shooting the ball better which could be a nightmare for opposing players.
4. Jimmy Butler
2021-2022 Statistics: 23.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Jimmy Butler is the undisputed leader of the Miami Heat, and his absence over the past 2 games has reflected on the court. Miami is nowhere near as good without Butler on the court, because the swingman is their best all-around scorer, passer, and defender. Not to mention, he plays harder than almost everyone on the court. As things stand, the Heat have a 7-5 record mainly due to Butler’s play on both ends of the court.
Jimmy is nursing a sprained ankle at the moment, but that should not take away his MVP chances to start the year. His off-court leadership has bled into the organization and everyone has stepped up their play, including Tyler Herro who is averaging 20.9 PPG off the bench. Jimmy has created a trend in the NBA to keep your head down and work hard, which has earned him a top-4 spot in the MVP rankings.
3. Nikola Jokic
2021-2022 Statistics: 25.4 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.0 BPG
The talented center has been near perfection all season long. He is averaging a monster double-double so far this season and has carried Denver on his back without Jamal Murray. Nikola Jokic is the best big man in the NBA and his skills are truly second to none as a passer and rebounder. The Serbian is literally an unstoppable force for Denver and the franchise wouldn’t be anywhere without him.
Not to mention, the reigning league MVP is a tough fellow ladies and gentlemen. It seems players have been trying to punk Jokic over the past few seasons, and the big man had enough this week by nailing Markief Morris to the ground. If Jokic continues to dominant the game and impose his physical ability on the court, Denver will be a massive problem once Jamal Murray returns to the court.
2. Kevin Durant
2021-2022 Statistics: 29.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Kevin Durant is at his very best yet again. The Slim Reaper is the undisputed best player in Brooklyn, even with the presence of 3-time scoring champion James Harden. While playing with Harden should hurt Durant’s stats, it hasn’t so far and KD is having one of his best seasons yet. While Harden is struggling to get used to not drawing fouls every possession, Durant has shown that no rule changes are affecting his play in any way. After all, he is nailing 40.4% of his threes and 58.5% of his field goals overall.
Brooklyn is a major contender for the Finals this year and Durant is the main reason why. The Nets are still waiting to see what will happen with Kyrie, although they seem determined to trade him and finish with the drama once and for all. As long as KD is performing like a top-3 player in the game, Kyrie’s absence will not matter too much. Durant will be in the MVP race all year long but is behind Stephen Curry at this moment.
1. Stephen Curry
2021-2022 Statistics: 27.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG
What more can you say about Stephen Curry that wasn't said already? He is the best shooter in the NBA and the main reason his team has a 10-1 record. The return of Klay Thompson will help a lot, but Curry’s scoring (top-5 in the NBA) has carried the squad to the best record in the Western Conference. If the Warriors keep stringing together some wins, Curry’s name will be at the top of the MVP charts all year long.
Once Klay Thompson returns, Curry has a chance to seriously have a chance for MVP because the team will continue to rack up wins. At this very moment, a former two-time MVP Curry has managed to make others around him better including Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II. In terms of scoring and on-court leadership, Curry has been the runaway MVP. Averaging 27.4 PPG on 38.5% shooting from three is not constituting his best season in terms of accuracy, but the point guard has been the player most responsible for the team with the best record at this point in time.