2022 NBA MVP Futures: Nikola Jokic Looks For Three Straight

When the 2021-22 NBA season ended, 27-year-old Nikola Jokic was named the NBA MVP for the second straight year. The Denver Nuggets’ center played 74 games for his team. Jokic scored an average of 27.1 points per game on 33.5 minutes per game. HIs .583 field goal percentage was among the best in the league. Jokic added an average of 7.9 assists per game in 2022.

The Nuggets rewarded their two-time MVP, who they drafted with the 41st pick in the second round of the 2014 NBA entry draft, with a five-year contract extension in the early days of this off-season. The supermax extension is worth $270 million. Jokic will make $46.6 million in the first year of the contract (2023-24) and that number will rise until it reaches $61.5 million in 2027-28. With the new contract, Jokic is locked up in Denver for six seasons at a cost to the team of $303 million.

Jokic earned 65 first place votes for the MVP award. The runner-up, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers earned 26 first place votes. Coming in behind Jokic and Embiid was Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo won back-to-back MVP awards in 2019 and 2020.

The last player to win three NBA MVP titles in a row was Larry Bird in 1984-85-86. Since then the following players (other than Jokic and Antetokounmpo) won two in a row, but fell short of a third: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, LeBron James (2x) and Stephen Curry.

Before we look at the odds and picks for the 2023 NBA candidates, check out out our NBA MVP betting odds and a our tips on betting on the NBA. 

2023 NBA MVP picks

To Win 2023 NBA MVPBetOnlineBovadaXBetMyBookie
Luka Doncic+425+475+430+430
Joel Embiid+700+550+530+530
Giannis Antetokounmpo+750+750+590+590
Kevin Durant+900+1000+1025+1025
Steph Curry+1000+1600+1275+1275
Nikola Jokic+1100+1200+920+920
JA Morant+1100+1000+1175+1175
Jayson Tatum+1200+1200+1150+1150
Kawhi Leonard+2500+4000+2200+2200
LeBron James+2500+2000+2200+2200
Trae Young+2500+4000+2700+2700
Devin Booker+2800+2500+2000+2000
Damian Lillard+2800+4000+8000+8000
Zion Williamson+3300+5000+5400+5400
Karl-Anthony Towns+5000+4500+4600+4600
Jimmy Butler+5000+5000+5200+5200
Anthony Davis+5000+6000+5000+5000
Darius Garland+6600+25000+19000+19000
Donovan Mitchell+7500+8000+7000+7000
LaMelo Ball+7500+7000+8500+8500
Paul George+7500+9000+8000+8000
Kyrie Irving+7500+9000+11000+11000
DeMar DeRozan+7500+8000+8500+8500
Bradley Beal+7500+10000+11000+11000
James Harden+7500+15000+11000+11000

Nikola Jokic

In 2022, Nikola Jokic became the 15th NBA player and second European-born player to win back-to-back NBA MVP titles. Jokic had a career year for the Denver Nuggets. He averaged personal highs of 27.1 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Last year, he also became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season. Jokic led the Nuggets to a 48-34 record.

What needs to be noted about Jokic’s performance was that he achieved his numbers on a Denver team that was missing its two other best offensive players. Michael Porter only played nine games in 2022 and Jamal Murray missed the entire season after a torn ACL. Both players are expected back for the 2022-23 season and that could hurt Jokic in the MVP voting in 2023.

Nikola JokicTO WIN 2023 NBA MVP
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
+1100
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Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic was one of the preseason favorites to win the 2022 NBA MVP. However the fourth-year NBA star fell short of making the list of finalists for the award. The 23-year-old, who plays for the Dallas Stars, finished the season averaging 28.4 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and one steal per game on 45.7 percent shooting from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent from the free throw line.

Doncic had a career high in minutes per game (35.4) and three-point percentage and he was close to his career high of 28.8 points per game.

What might have hurt Doncic in the MVP race in 2022 was that he was criticized for his slow start to the season. Most of that criticism was about the shape Doncic was in at the start of the season. If Doncic addresses that issue ahead of the 2022-23 season, he should be in the running for the 2023 MVP. However, if he has another slow start, he’ll most likely fall out of the hunt early in the season.

Luka DoncicTO WIN 2023 NBA MVP
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
+475
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Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers finished as the runner-up of the NBA MVP for a second straight year in 2022. Embiid was not close to Jokic in 2021. However, the votes were close in 2022. Jokic finished with 875 total voting points and Embiid earned 706. Many prognosticators saw the pick as a toss up at the end of the NBA regular season.

Embiid averaged an NBA-best 30.6 points per game, along with 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists while playing a career-high 68 games.

Joel EmbiidTO WIN 2023 NBA MVP
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
+530
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Our pick

Joel Embiid seemed frustrated that he didn’t win the NBA MVP in 2022. “Last year I campaigned about it,” he said after finding out he was second in voting. “This year I answered questions when asked, and the next few years until I retire, it’s almost like … I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t know what else I have to do to win it. To me, at this point it’s whatever. It’s all about focusing—not that I wasn’t focused on the bigger picture—but it’s really trying to put all my energy into the bigger picture, which is to win the whole thing.”

I think losing out in 2022 will be freeing for Embiid and allow him to forget about the MVP award. With that, I think he will be a better player.

Our pick: Joel Embiid to win the 2023 NBA MVP Award.

Joel EmbiidTO WIN 2023 NBA MVP
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
+530
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Trent Reinsmith

Trent covers UFC and MMA for MTS. He has written for USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively among others. He has been involved with MMA since he and some friends threw some money together to purchase the pay-per-view of UFC 1, and the rest is history.

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