2022-23 SBF NBA MVP Ladder 1.0

It is WAYYY too early to try and decipher who is leading the MVP race in the NBA, but let’s do it anyway! Most squads have featured in just under 10 games, with the standings starting to take shape as we begin to decipher who is a serious threat and who is making up the numbers. Speaking of numbers, the league’s stars are filling up the box scores with regularity to commence this season, but it’s already going to take some doing to catch the player in pole position for this award. 

If you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NBA articles and follow my fan pages on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!

Click here to subscribe on iTunes
(Feel free to leave a rating and review to help me move up the charts 👍)

Honourable Mentions: Damian Lillard, Tyrese Maxey, Lauri Markkanen, Pascal Siakam, Jrue Holiday, Trae Young

10. Kevin Durant, Nets (4-6)

Season Stats (9 games): 32.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.1 APG; 52.2 FG%, 34.0 3P%, 94.3 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Kevin Durant has been holding up his end of the bargain despite all the hysteria around the Brooklyn Nets so far this season. At the age of 34, Durant is still scoring the ball with unparalleled consistency like he’s smack bang in his prime, sitting 3rd in the league for PPG so far. Unfortunately, any chance he has of making a serious push for the award will be tied with the Nets’ record, and at this rate, things are still going to get worse before they get better.

9. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder (4-5)

Season Stats (8 games): 30.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.9 APG; 53.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 96.5 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Even though he’s been linked to trade rumours for years now, you can see why the Thunder don’t want to part ways with SGA. Oklahoma City’s young guard is helping his squad immensely in the early portion of the year, thriving with a clean bill of health by scoring 30+ in five contests so far. There are justifiable questions over how long Gilgeous-Alexander can keep this up, but either way, he deserves an immense amount of credit for the heavy lifting he has done so far.

Image from thunderousintentions.com

8. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (6-3)

Season Stats (9 games): 20.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 9.2 APG; 62.3 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 88.5 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Denver’s slow start has quickly been put in the rear vision mirror, with their back-to-back MVP winner steering the ship. Averaging close to a triple-double, Jokic is still excelling at the peak of his powers, throwing dazzling dimes on a regular basis and making light work of his opponents on the low block. There are 44 players averaging at least 20 PPG right now, and Jokic is the only one on that list who is shooting over 56% from the field. If the Nuggets keep winning, expect him to stay firmly in the mix.

7. Jayson Tatum, Celtics (6-3)

Season Stats (9 games): 30.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.2 APG; 50.0 FG%, 38.3 3P%, 90.4 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
This Boston team is reminiscent of the squad that made the NBA Finals a year ago, and Jayson Tatum’s play is a big reason why. As a catalyst for their early success, Tatum is posting close to 50/40/90 shooting splits and seems to have taken his game to another level. Despite the off-court distractions, this Celtics team is poised for a run at a top seed out East, and as a result, I only expect Tatum to continue ascending in the MVP ladder. 

6. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (7-3)

Season Stats (9 games): 28.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.9 APG; 48.3 FG%, 47.1 3P%, 83.8 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Memphis’ high-flying floor general has picked up where he left off last postseason, as the Grizz aim to prove their previous success was no fluke. With Morant leading the show (ably supported by Desmond Bane), the Grizzlies have burst out of the gates and are showing no signs of slowing down. We all expect Ja Morant to challenge for this award in the future and if Memphis continues to ascend, there’s no reason why he can’t be right amongst the thick of it when the regular season draws to a close.

Image from grizzlybearblues.com

5. Steph Curry, Warriors (3-6)

Season Stats (9 games): 31.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.8 APG; 48.7 FG%, 41.4 3P%, 94.4 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Steph’s individual brilliance has been fully on display to start this season, but the rest of his supporting cast is struggling. The Warriors are almost 23 points worse when Curry sits and the former dual MVP winner is doing almost everything for Dub Nation right now, joining Luka Doncic as the only two players averaging 30/6/6 to commence the season. I expect Golden State to right their wrongs before too long, but it will be interesting to see if Curry can stay nuclear.

4. Devin Booker, Suns (7-2)

Season Stats (9 games): 27.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.1 APG; 48.3 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 87.5 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
The popular narrative around the Suns this offseason was that they would slip back as the rest of the Western field catches up to them. So far, they haven’t missed a beat and are the only franchise sitting inside the top-3 for both offensive and defensive efficiency. Devin Booker is once again leading the charge for Phoenix and his stellar play will keep him near the top of this leaderboard as long as the Suns keep rolling. 

3. Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers (8-1)

Season Stats (8 games): 31.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.5 APG; 49.2 FG%, 40.8 3P%, 87.3 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
We all knew that acquiring Donovan Mitchell was going to be great for the Cavaliers, but this hot start is unprecedented. Cleveland’s offensive dynamo has shouldered a huge workload so far with Darius Garland sidelined, and as a result, the Cavs have hardly put a foot wrong. Pacing the team for scoring with 31.4 PPG while shooting over 40% from deep, Mitchell has drastically shattered the ceiling for what we thought was achievable for Cleveland this season.

2. Luka Doncic, Mavericks (5-3)

Season Stats (8 games): 36.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 8.6 APG; 52.7 FG%, 26.2 3P%, 78.5 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
Statistically, Luka Doncic has been operating on a higher plane compared to his NBA peers through the early portion of the season. Doncic is posting an absurd 36/8/8 line, numbers that no players in the history of the league have ever maintained for an entire campaign, hitting an array of impossible shots every time he steps onto the court. The main detriment to Luka’s MVP case this year will be the Mavericks’ record, although, if they can push their way to close to 50 wins, expect Doncic to be at the top of the pecking order in this award race.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (9-0)

Season Stats (8 games): 32.6 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 5.8 APG; 55.3 FG%, 27.6 3P%, 63.2 FT%
Last Rank: N/A
During the 2019-20 season, we saw Giannis reel off an MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year award double. Could history repeat itself this time around? It’s still early days, but if we had to decide on a winner today, it’s highly likely that Antetokounmpo would register the lion’s share of the votes for both major trophies. The best player on the best team, who is yet to experience a loss will sit at No. 1 until someone dethrones him.

Banner from marca.com

Leave a Reply