MVP Risers & Fallers at the All-Star Break

Luke Doncic playing against Trail Blazers

There are still plenty of races to be decided in the NBA as the league kicks off their second half later this week. However, one competition is seemingly already decided: the league MVP.

At the break, it appears that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo already has the award locked up. Milwaukee is having a historic regular season, and much of that is thanks to the play of the Greek Freak. The 25-year-old is averaging 30 mpg, 13.5 rpg, and 5.8 apg, all in a tidy 30 minutes per game. Plus, in an era of superteams, Giannis’ best teammate is Khris Middleton. With all due respect to the rest of the Bucks roster, the squad might not even be in the playoff hunt without their best player.

Even with the award all but decided, we though it’d be fun to see the highest riser and faller in the MVP odds since the beginning of the season. If you’ve been following the NBA this season, the results shouldn’t surprise you.

Biggest Riser: Luka Doncic

The 2018 third-overall pick had a standout rookie campaign, averaging 21.2 points per game. He’s somehow taken that to another level this season, boosting his scoring to 28.9 points per game (to go along with 9.5 rebounds per game and 8.7 assists per game).

Doncic’s versatility has been especially valuable to the Mavericks, but its his availability that’s been his biggest skill. With Kristaps Porzingis struggling to stay on the floor, Dallas is still 33-22. Sure, that’s only good enough for seventh in the conference, but the team is still within striking distance of home court in the first round. Further, the squad had an over/under of 40.5 wins, showing that the team is already exceeding expectations.

Doncic was a longshot bet at the beginning of the season, but he’s found himself ahead of the likes of James Harden and LeBron James at the break. Barring an injury or some sort of unforeseen fall off by the Bucks, Doncic’s best possible standing in the MVP race is probably second. However, the All-Star will surely be a mainstay in this race for years to come.

Other Risers

Biggest Faller: Steph Curry

You could see a narrative building during the offseason after Kevin Durant left for Brooklyn. Klay Thompson would be missing for much of the 2019-20 season, forcing Steph Curry to guide the Warriors to the playoffs. If the former MVP managed to lead his squad to a top-4 finish, you could easily see Curry taking home the hardware.

Unfortunately, Curry broke his hand back in late October. While there’s a chance he’ll return later this season, it’s not going to do much to turn around the Warriors fortunes.

Curry entered the season as the definitive number-two pick for MVP (behind Giannis). It’ll be curious to see where he ranks next season, and he could be a sexy pick if his odds are more lucrative than usual. With Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, maybe Andrew Wiggins, and a top draft pick, the Warriors could be atop the Western Conference as soon as next season.

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