Greek Freak still leading NBA MVP discussion, Doncic looking legit
Three weeks into the NBA season, Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the odds-on favorite to capture a second consecutive MVP award.
Nothing has changed in that regard, but there has been a bit of moving and shaking since the very start of the 2019-20 campaign. Stephen Curry had been a trendy pick to win it for a third time given that he was finally the man in Golden State with Kevin Durant gone and Klay Thompson sidelined. A broken left hand, however, has knocked him out of the equation. The fact that Clippers newcomer Paul George (shoulder) still has not made his team debut leaves him massively behind the eight ball. Going in the other direction, meanwhile, is Mavericks second-year guard Luka Doncic. Always thought to be an MVP candidate for the future, Doncic is looking legit right now.
Let’s take a look at some of the contenders for the league’s highest individual honor.
Favorite: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+225)
What’s not to like about the Greek Freak’s chances of going back-to-back? He has the Bucks at a solid 7-3 through 10 contests and is averaging 29.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. All of those numbers are career-highs, and it is no surprise that he continues to get better and better at 24 years old.
Best Value: Kawhi Leonard (+800)
Being the best player on the best team would give anyone a big boost in the MVP race. Both Antetokounmpo and Leonard are capable of earning that distinction. The Clippers are also 7-3 and Leonard is contributing 26.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, and 2.3 spg. Like his counterpart in Milwaukee, those are all career-highs. George’s impending return may take away from some of those numbers, but it will also take some pressure off while also leading to more wins. The Clippers have a huge showdown on their hands for Wednesday with James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the Rockets. Be sure to check out our free NBA picks for that game and throughout the season.
Longshot: Luka Doncic (+1800)
Doncic, who offered a Michael Jordan-esque shrug following a three-pointer against Boston on Monday, is pouring in 28.3 ppg to go along with 10.3 rpg, 9.1 apg, and 1.1 spg. Perhaps equally important is the fact that the Mavericks are actually good this season. After missing the playoffs by a mile in 2018-19, they are currently in the postseason picture with a 6-4 record—good for seventh place in the Western Conference. Although Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis provide for one of the NBA’s most prolific duos, Doncic is quite clearly the star in Dallas.