Early Candidates for MVP in the 22/23 NBA Season

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The Race for MVP in the 22/23 NBA Season

The first month or so of the NBA season has been an exciting one.

There have been unexpected teams jockeying for first place (Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers). The 2022 rookie class has some clear-cut gems (Paolo Banchero, Benn Mathurin, Jaden Ivey).

There’s been constant trade chatter around the Los Angeles Lakers (who are five games under .500, squandering another year of LeBron James’ career).

All in all, it’s been largely what a fan of the NBA would hope for in a new season.

One of the expected developments has been NBA teams tanking in an attempt to secure the best odds for the top pick of the NBA Draft. For casual fans of the game, this might seem like a bizarre strategy. Intentionally losing? What could you gain – besides a 14% chance of getting the number one overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft?

The answer? Victor Wembanyama. Although he is not yet playing in the NBA, Victor Wembanyama is the most hyped basketball player this season. Read more here about the expected overall first pick for NBA.

Now let’s continue on to the race of the Most Valuable Player in NBA below. We’re going to focus on some of the best overall players of this year. Many players are off to scorching hot starts in this ’22-’23 NBA season, so predicting MVP won’t be easy.

 

Top 10 early season MVP Candidates for the NBA 22/23 season:

Devin Booker

10. Devin Booker

Booker is currently averaging 27.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game as he tries to keep the Phoenix Suns afloat until Chris Paul is back in uniform. He’s averaging a career high in points this season (so far) and he’s shooting nearly his career high in terms of three point percentage. His offensive rating has skyrocketed to a career high of 122 (an estimate of points produced per 100 possessions). The 10-6 Suns are 2nd in the Western Conference and Booker is a significant reason why.

9. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

One of the best young guards in the league, SGA has elevated his game to a whole new lev

el this season. Averaging a career high 31.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, SGA has been doing it all for the Thunder, on both ends of the floor. It’s not like he’s doing it inefficiently either, shooting a tidy 52% from the floor and 39% from three. The Thunder (7-10) may have a losing record, but the future is bright with SGA.

8. Joel Embiid

The Sixers are a middling team this year, but that has more to do with injuries than it has to do with Embiid. Averaging 32.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, Embiid has been both the offensive and defensive fulcrum for the 76ers when he’s on the floor. His three point numbers have dipped (27% in this year, versus 37% last year), but he remains one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA. His numbers are boosted by a career year getting to the charity stripe. Embiid is attempting 12.2 free throws per game, hitting them at an 83% clip – excellent numbers for a big man.

Lauri Markkanen7. Lauri Markkanen

Eventually, I was going to have to place Lauri on this list. Markkanen is putting up career numbers for a surprisingly-in-first Utah Jazz squad that was expected to be a contender for Victor Wembanyama’s services. Lauri is putting up 22.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and nearly a block per game while shooting almost 54% from the floor. Given that his career best in shooting percentage was 48% (two years ago), this offensive eruption is totally out of the blue.

6. Donovan Mitchell

Speaking of the Jazz, when Mitchell was traded to the Cavaliers, there were some concerns around the league. The Cavs trotting out two offensive-minded guards, both undersized, neither known for defensive? Those concerns have quieted as Mitchell puts up career numbers on career high efficiency. Averaging 29.8 points, 6.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 49% from the floor and 41% from three, Mitchell has truly blossomed. He’s an elite scorer, and always has been, but now he’s doing it with top-tier efficiency to match. The Cavaliers are 11-6, and he’s played a large part in that.

stephen curry nba5. Stephen Curry

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Curry is the best shooter of all-time. Hitting an asinine 5.3 of his 11.6 three point attempts per game (44%), Curry is flame throwing his way to 32.3 points per night. The Warriors are a surprising 8-10, but Curry remains a top-five NBA talent. He also deserves mention as a shooter with a genuine gravitational pull, but doesn’t always get credit for being an excellent free throw shooter (90%+) as well.

4. Nikola Jokic

I’m sure the reigning MVP will move up this list as the season progresses, but for now, he’ll have to settle for fourth. The only member of the top-five not averaging at least 30 points per game, Jokic instead contributes a near triple double every night. The Nuggets are 10-6, but the Joker is shooting 60% from the floor, has 3 triple doubles in 13 games, and the highest offensive rating (131) of his entire career.

giannis antetokounmpo3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

30.1 points per game. 11.6 rebounds per game. 5.4 assists per game. Why isn’t the Greek Freak higher on this list? Poor shooting numbers from three point range (22%) and from the charity stripe (57%) have him locked at three. That said, the Bucks are 12-4 in large part because of Giannis. I can’t place him any lower because he’s remarkably consistent on both ends of the floor. Just last night (11/21), Giannis posted a stat line of 37 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Greek Freak, indeed.

2. Jayson Tatum

The Boston Celtics’ star has elevated his game this season, averaging 30+ points per game for the first time. He’s actually upped his point total on a season-by-season basis every year. Ge’s also averaging a career high in assists per game (4.6) and blocks per game (1.2) to boot. Coupled that with an absurd 37.2 minutes played per night, Tatum has been the guy for the Celtics this season. Did we mention his field goal percentage is also the highest (47%) it’s been since his rookie year?

1. Luka Doncic

The Mavericks are only 9-7, but Doncic has been an otherworldly force this season. Like Jokic, he’s averaging a near triple double, only Doncic is also averaging 33.5 points per game. Although his three point percentage has slipped, he’s still the best offensive threat in the NBA this season. Luka is also leading the league in triple doubles with four. It’s early, but Luka has been the most impressive player in this young season.

We can’t wait to follow the MVP race during this NBA season. Make sure to check out the latest NBA odds to play on this season at Caesars, FanDuel, BetMGM, Borgata Sports, BetRivers and Unibet. Remember to always set a betting budget before you play. If you can’t control your gambling habits, don’t hesitate to reach out to the free helpline chat from NCPG.

Catie Di Stefano has worked in the gambling industry since 2011 for major brands like Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Gaming Innovation Group and Betsson Group. She started in customer support at age 19 and has since worked her way through VIP, CRM and Marketing. Today, Catie is passionate about educating players on consumer rights and the best approaches for legal play in the United States as the Director of Community Marketing at OnlineGamblers.com. Catie was born in Indonesia but grew up in Sweden. Currently, she resides in Spain with her two daughters.

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