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Predicting the NBA's Top 5 MVP Candidates for 2023/24

It has been an off-season of change in the NBA, with big trades and free agency signings but which individuals will shine brightest in 2023/24.
Oct 18, 2023 11:51 PM

It has been an off-season of change in the NBA, with big trades and free agency signings but which individuals will shine brightest in 2023/24.

It's tough to predict a top five or even a top ten here, let's not forget six players averaged over 30 points per game last season, with another eight hitting over 25 points per game. However, there will always be a few stars that shine brighter than the others in the NBA whether we like to acknowledge it or not. I'm not just picking the best players on the teams likely to top the standings in 2024 but there a few big names that I don't believe will factor into the race.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is not on my list. Does this mean I don't think he will one of the best players in the league this season? Absolutely not, but he is heading towards the LeBron James mode, where he's had his MVP glory and now it's time for him to be largely considered the best but no longer the most valuable player in the league. However that works!

Let's also remember that the only players to win multiple MVP's in a row and then win another, after relinquishing the award, are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Bill Russell.

5. Nikola Jokic - 22/23 stats: 24.5 PPG/11.8 RPG/9.8 APG/ 63% FG

Following a ridiculous playoff run last season, that ultimately led to a championship, Nikola Jokic is the best player in basketball heading into the new season. He has to be in the MVP conversation, especially because many believe he was robbed of a three-peat last season.

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On the flip side, he just won a championship, voter fatigue is not going to work in his favor and he is basically in the same position as Giannis. So winning a third MVP is unlikely for Jokic despite the fact he will put up the stats and team success to be considered one of the best.

4.Joel Embiid- 22/23 stats: 33.1 PPG/10.4 RPG/4.2 APG

Embiid is the reigning MVP & two-time scoring champion, so it's hard to see him not being a key figure in the race for MVP. With James Harden likely leaving the 76ers, there is going to be even more pressure on Embiid to deliver and he will rise to the challenge.

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However, don't be surprised if people look to discount Embiid's performances during the regular season, due to his inability to stay healthy and deliver in the playoffs. Voter fatigue could play a part here but the two previous winners of the award went back to back and Embiid will want to do the same, his numbers will certainly be deserving but his need to be 'playoff ready' may hinder him.

3.Anthony Davis- 22/23 stats: 25.9 PPG/12.5 RPG/2.0 BPG

AD was the best defensive player in the playoffs last season, and looked as close to the guy that helped the Los Angeles Lakers win the 2020 NBA Championship as we have seen since. He has set himself a target of playing all 82 games this season and LeBron has preached that this is 'AD's Team'. It's time for Davis to deliver and if he is back to his best, he will dominate on both ends of the court, in a winning Lakers team. That has MVP written all over it.

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'A teammate of LeBron James winning MVP??? Are you insane?' It is a bit crazy to think of but LeBron is entering his 21st season, he knows its time for him to take a slight step back and be the no.2 to a more than capable Anthony Davis. However, he is still LeBron James and the fact AD is playing with him could hurt his case to win MVP. But if he is healthy, he can challenge Giannis for best two way player in the league.

Honorable Mentions:

Devin Booker- D-Book is playing on a star studded Phoenix Suns team, and while he could put up the biggest numbers on the team. Playing on a super team alongside Kevin Durant will likely hurt any case he may have to be league MVP.

Shai Gilgeous Alexander- SGA had a Michael Jordan-esque season last year and the OKC Thunder look primed to challenge for a playoff place in the stacked West with Shai as their leader. However, I think he will take a slight step back this year with the induction of Chet Holmgren into the Thunder's lineup but he will still be All-NBA level.

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Anthony Edwards- I believe Ant is primed to deliver a breakout season in Minnesota, maybe even propelling his team into the Top 6 seeds in the West but MVP talk will come a bit too soon for Edwards, and he will be closer to the Most Improved Player than the Most Valuable Player despite posting big numbers.

2.Jayson Tatum- 22/23 stats: 30.1 PPG/8.8 RPG/4.6 APG/1.1 SPG

Jayson Tatum has excelled since entering the NBA, improving ever season he has been in the league. He is now arguably the league's top two-way wing and we will see him produce another MVP caliber season in 2024. Tatum will be at the forefront of Celtics team that I believe will post the best record in the NBA. 30/9/5 season inbound!

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Tatum will have to share the offensive and defensive load with Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis & Jrue Holiday, which could hinder his case a bit, he is playing in a team that won't suffer too much if he were to miss a few games but he will be the best player on that stacked team so how can he not be top MVP candidate?

1.Luka Doncic- 22/23 stats: 32.4 PPG/8.6 RPG/8.0 APG/1.4 SPG

Luka Doncic will be top of this list every year until he wins MVP, he has all the offensive talents to dominate the league and I think there is 'a want' around the league to see him win the award. He will again post a near 30 point triple double average during the regular season, with almost nightly additions to his highlight reel. The award is there for Luka if he wants it.

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Team success could hinder his chances however. The Dallas Mavericks failed to reach the playoffs last season after adding Kyrie Irving but despite minimal moves this off-season I expect Kyrie & Luka to click this season and a return to the playoffs will follow. But playing on a losing team is the biggest hurdle to Doncic claiming the crown of the NBA's Most Valuable Player. But if the Mavericks are top 4 in the West, Luka will be MVP.

Doncic is my front runner for MVP but take into account that seven players have won back to back MVP's since 2000, is it time for another first timer or will Embiid reign supreme once again. I've made my call, now you make yours?

Photo Credit- Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports