2022-12-31 · 3 min read · NBA/Basketball
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic

Stacy Revere/Getty Images | Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today | Gareth Patterson/AP

For nearly two decades, LeBron James held the title of undisputed best player on earth.
But now, though still a superstar, he’s on the back nine of his career, making room for a new crop of elite players who have taken the league by storm, making for an incredibly exciting MVP race this season.
Four players in particular come to mind, each bringing a very different case to the table.
Giannis Antetokounmpo probably has the most well rounded case, so that’s where we’ll begin. His stats (31.7 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 5.2 apg) are insane, of course, and he’s the most physically dominant player the league has seen since Shaquille O’Neal. What makes Giannis truly special though, isn’t just what he does on offence, it’s his impact defensively as well.
His ability to anchor the defence in the paint while also being able to switch out and cover perimeter scorers is what enables Milwaukee to consistently have a top 5 defensive rating, including this year where they rank 3rd. He also averages a block and over a steal per game.
Giannis also has the best resume accolades-wise out of anyone on this list. With Two MVP’s, as well as a finals MVP and a title to his name.
Another man with a compelling case is reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, whose statistical profile is also ridiculous: 25.7 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 9.4 apg..
Jokic is the most unselfish superstar in the league, and the best passer out of anyone on this list by far. What makes Jokic truly great is his ability to bring an offence together with his deep and immense skill set.
A true 7 footer, he can handle the ball, operate in the high post, the low post, the top of the key, he can be a screener, as well as a ball handler. He’s the most unique player the league has to offer.
While team success hasn’t necessarily come at a high level, yet, he still has back to back MVPs to his name, with a great chance at getting a 3rd this season.
Though he’ll have to go through Jason Tatum, and Luka Doncic to get it, the two frontrunners.
Doncic is a once in a generation player. His averages of 33.7, 8.8 rpg and 8.9 apg also aren't anything to sneeze at. His recent 60/20 game was outright sick. Luka has a tendency sometimes to become too iso-centric to the detriment of his team.
Having said that, he also has the least to work with compared to any of his contemporaries. A guard to take some pressure off him and allow him to play more off the ball will ultimately help his career.
But rising above them all right now is the aforementioned Tatum, who’s leading the best team in the NBA right now. Tatum’s splits come in at 31.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, so not quite as gaudy as the other three, but it’s not all about the numbers.
Tatum has taken on the challenge on the defensive end, becoming a leader at that end of the floor, and a legitimate stopper against quality wings. He’s also sacrificed some of his stats in order to get Jaylen Brown the touches he needs.
Giannis and Jokic will suffer from voter fatigue, which probably makes it a two horse race between Tatum and Luka.
Though a lot can change throughout the course of a season; injuries, teams going on runs, teams going on losing streaks, etc.
If you ask me, there’s a certain small forward on the red-hot Brooklyn Nets that might have a thing or two to say about it.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Eddie Huband


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