Tatum leads NBA MVP race; Giannis, Luka gaining momentum originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The NBA MVP race is in its early stages, but like Rudolph’s red nose, the league’s biggest stars have a chance to shine on Christmas.
The league has five marquee matchups scheduled for the holiday. Between two playoff rematches and three additional intra-conference contests, the stage is set for top players to bolster their MVP case.
Before those matchups tip-off, let’s take stock of the 2022-23 MVP race two months into the season.
Who is the favorite to win the NBA MVP?
The top two leading MVP candidates are set to face off on Christmas Day.
Jayson Tatum is the current front runner with +270 odds to win MVP, according to PointsBet. He’s currently averaging 30.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.
Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will visit Tatum in Boston on Dec. 25. The Greek Freak has the next-best MVP odds at +300, is averaging 30.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists and has Milwaukee neck and neck with Boston atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Here is a look at the top 15 candidates in the NBA’s MVP race right now, seven of whom will take the court on Christmas:
- Jayson Tatum: +270
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: +300
- Luka Doncic: +450
- Joel Embiid: +900
- Nikola Jokic: +900
- Devin Booker: +2000
- Steph Curry: +2200
- Zion Williamson: +2200
- Kevin Durant: +2500
- Donovan Mitchell: +3000
- Ja Morant: +3000
- Anthony Davis: +5000
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: +8000
- Damian Lillard: +10000
Who is the current MVP in the NBA?
Jokic is the two-time reigning NBA MVP. He earned the honor for the first time in 2020-21 and became the 13th player in league history to be named MVP in back-to-back seasons.
Did the NBA rename the MVP trophy?
This year’s most valuable player will be the first to take home the new one Michael Jordan Trophy. The NBA redesigned and renamed its major, end-of-season awards in December and chose to honor the Chicago Bulls legend in the process.
The NBA also announced the Jerry West Trophy (clutch player of the year), Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy (defensive player of the year), Wilt Chamberlain Trophy (rookie of the year), John Havlicek Trophy (sixth man of the year) and George Mikan Trophy (most improved player).
How many NBA players have been MVP?
Thirty-five players have been named NBA MVP.
Fifteen of those players were multi-time winners, while 20 earned the award once.