It’s amazing how quickly things can change in professional sports. A month ago, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant looked like they would be locked in a race for the 2022 NBA MVP award, while reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was in long-shot territory.
As the NBA gets into February, an MCL injury has Durant on the sidelines and Curry is in a bit of a slump. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid has surged from a +4000 long shot to a +180 favorite to claim the MVP and Jokic is getting consideration as a possible back-to-back winner.
2022 NBA MVP odds
|To Win 2022 NBA MVP|
Joel Embiid surges
A planned day off recently ended a run of 21 straight games on the court for the Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid. During that 21-game run, the 27-year-old averaged 33. 1 point per game. Those numbers put him in the second spot in league scoring. Over the season, Embiid has averaged 29.1 points, which puts him right on the tail of Kevin Durant, who is in the No. 1 spot at 29.3.
The 76ers are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Embiid’s play is an enormous reason for the team’s success this season as the club is 4-8 in games when Embiid is not on the court.
look ma, one hand! pic.twitter.com/fW6L2H5Baf
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 3, 2022
Embiid was named the Player of the Month for the Eastern Conference in January.
Nikola Jokic looks to repeat
Nikola Jokic jumped back into the 2022 MVP picture with an outstanding month of January. The current NBA MVP, Jokic, led the Denver Nuggets to an 11-5 record in the first month of 2022.
The 26-year-old averaged 26.6 points per game and added an average of 13. 2 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 1.43 steal in January. Jokic had seven triple-doubles in January. That stat put him in a group of five players who have had seven-or-more triple-doubles in one month. He ranked first in the league in total rebounds, second in assists, third in total points, and third in field goals made for the month. The league awarded Jokic for his efforts, naming him the NBA Player of the Month in the Western Conference.
Your Western Conference Player of the Month, King Nikola 👑🃏 pic.twitter.com/US2D0lYc4b
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 2, 2022
One thing that might hurt Jokic is that the Nuggets are in sixth place in the Western Conference.
Giannis Antetokounmpo in the mix
The Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA title in 2021 and that team’s best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has been in the mix to win the NBA MVP all season long. In January he had the third-best odds to win the award behind Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. Antetokounmpo is still third, but he has cut his chances to win in a big way. The 27-year-old was +650 in January according to the oddsmakers. He is currently sitting at +350 in the MVP race.
The assist that gave Giannis his 4th triple-double of the season. pic.twitter.com/84t4Hqug0h
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 2, 2022
Antetokounmpo is playing well. He is currently on a career-best 17-game streak in which he’s scored 25 points or more. That streak began on Christmas day when he put up 36 against the Boston Celtics.
Milwaukee is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
NBA MVP pick
With Curry falling off a bit after a hot start to the season and Durant being injured, right now it looks like a race between Embiid and Jokic. I give the nod to Embiid because he is more valuable to his team than Jokic.
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