The Battle for MVP + Steph Curry Makes His Case

The Battle for MVP + Steph Curry Makes His Case

Zev Cohen, Staff Reporter

With just over a month left in the NBA regular season, certain players are making their final push to be voted the league’s most valuable player for the 2020-2021 season. Leading the pack are Denver’s own Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Stephen Curry. 


The current projected winner is Nikola Jokić, who plays center for the Denver Nuggets. He has been playing very well this season, but now is at the point where he needs to solidify his place as the best in the league. He is averaging 26 points, 8.8 assists, and 11 rebounds over 35 minutes this season. However, the second highest point-averager on the team is guard Jamal Murray, who was recently diagnosed with a torn ACL and will not play for the rest of the season. So, the following weeks will feature the Serbian center in the spotlight. He has been leading the Nuggets to the 4th seed in the western conference. Ahead of the previous championship winners the LA Lakers, the Nuggets are behind the Clippers, Suns, and league leaders Utah Jazz. Denver made it to the western conference finals last year against the Lakers, and look to make it even farther this year. But, Jamal Murray played a big part in getting the Nuggets as far as they went, and will not be available for this year’s playoffs.


Next on the lists of winner’s odds is Joel Embiid, center for the Philadelphia 76ers. Originally from Cameroon and drafted in 2014, Embiid is a strong center that can create good shots, similar to Jokić, but is also a solid outside shooter with good interior rebounding ability. He has been having a dominant season, averaging 30 points and 11 rebounds this season. But he has missed 18 total games this season, with 11 coming due to a post all-star break knee injury that he is recently recovering from. With an injury so detrimental to his time on the court. The last player to win MVP with over 15 missed games was Bill Walton in 1977, so his missed playing time definitely hurts his odds. Although, Embiid thinks that he does deserve it. Speaking to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic “There’s no doubt (I’m MVP). I’ve been dominant all season. I’m not going to stop.” If he or Nikola Jokić win the award, it will be the first center to win it since the great Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.


The 2-time MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is also in the running. The 6’11 Greek power forward specializes in driving through defenders and dunking strongly. He won the MVP award in 2019 and 2020; this would make his third straight. Only legends Bill Russel, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird have won the award in three straight years. From humble beginnings, Giannis worked his way to America and grew stronger and heavier in his 7 years in the league. The 2020 all-star team captain is not projected to win the award though, as other players are pushing him out of the top spot.


Currently, Steph Curry is 4th in the running for NBA regular season MVP. He has been in the league for 13 years, and has won the award for the 2015-16 season. But after missing last season due to injury, he played very well for the first half of the season up to the all-star break. But after the break, he has been on a historic scoring streak the likes of which have never been seen from a three-point shooting perspective. At age 33, he scored over 30 points in 11 straight games, the longest ever streak for a player over 30. But even more impressive were his three-pointers made. With six games this season with 10+ three-pointers made (21 in his career, no other player has ever had more than 3), and 4 of them coming in 5 games, he had a staggering total of 54 three-pointers in 6 games, averaging 9 per game. Even though his 30-point streak ended in an 18-point loss to the Washington Wizards, many fans have declared him the sudden MVP favorite, but there is a problem dragging him down. His team, the Golden State Warriors, are 10th out of 15 teams in the western conference, with a 29-30 record. With his fellow sharpshooter, Klay Thompson, out until next season, his teams losing record weakens his chances. But, in a 49-point game on April 19th, the Warriors beat the #1 seed Philadelphia 76ers, showing that Curry himself is capable of taking down even the most intimidating opponents.


As of right now, Nikola Jokić leads the way in current MVP polls. But Joel Embiid or Steph Curry could come from behind and take the award. Either way, fans are excited to see who comes out on top and who will be declared the 2020-2021 NBA most valuable player.