Numerous players from across the NBA have begun the 2020-21 season with a bang, single-handedly leading their teams despite a shortened pre-season. Some of the performances in the first few weeks have ignited the conversation surrounding the MVP race for this season.
It is truly commendable what the NBA and its players have managed to do during these difficult times. There were concerns about players not being rested enough after the shortest offseason ever. Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, we have witnessed plenty of jaw-dropping performances and amazing statistics from megastars across the league. The five players who are currently the front-runners to win the 2020-21 NBA MVP award are:
5) Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
NBA 2020-21 Average: 28.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.3 SPG
The former two-time MVP Stephen Curry opened the season slowly, in the absence of Klay Thompson, but in the last ten days, he has produced performances that only go on to solidify his place as the greatest shooter of all-time. Without Thompson, if Curry can guide the Golden State Warriors to even a top-five finish in the Western Conference standings, he will cement himself a spot in the MVP conversation.
4) Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers
NBA 2020-21 Average: 24.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.2 SPG
After a brutal defeat to the Denver Nuggets in the bubble, it was unsure whether the Clippers made the correct choice handing George a 4-year $190 million extension, but a few months on, the choice seems like the perfect one. The former Indiana Pacers player has managed to pull his team forward, even when co-star Kawhi Leonard is unable to suit up. In the 2018-19 season, he finished third in the MVP race behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden.
3) LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers
NBA 2020-21 Average: 24.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, 0.8 SPG
In his 18th year in the league, LeBron James is by far the best player in the league right now. After he won his 4th NBA Finals MVP in the Orlando bubble, many have started taking him for granted. With him in the lineup, the Lakers are a completely different team. They have the best record in the league at 10-3. For James to still be putting up these numbers at the age of 36 is commendable. It would give him a real shot at being the oldest player ever to win the MVP award.
2) Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
NBA 2020-21 Average: 25 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG
It appears that the 76ers big man is finally playing to his full potential after two straight failures in the post-season. The team currently sits at the top of the Eastern Conference, sporting the league’s 16th-ranked offence and fourth-ranked defence. A lot of credit should go to coach Doc Rivers whose arrival in the 76ers franchise has brought a new life to the team. Embiid led Philadelphia to victory with 45 points and 16 rebounds against Miami this week.
1) Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
NBA 2020-21 Average: 25 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 10.3 APG, 1.9 SPG
The 7-foot center is currently averaging a triple-double. He has produced astonishing numbers this season, including 17 assists in one game. So far, the Nuggets are struggling with a 5-5 record but Jokic is doing something that a center has never done before in the modern era. If he continues to dominate over the next few weeks, it will be hard to see how the media fraternity does not look at him as a potential favourite to win the MVP race for 2020-21.