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Rob’s Rolling MVP Guest List – January 1

Bad Men, Bad Takes – Season 1

The new year has rolled around and we are now into 2022!

By now, you know the drill. This is my rolling MVP Guest list, updated to take into account performances from December from all over the Association.

Before we get to the players, let’s get a quick reminder of the metaphor and rules I am using to determine my MVP Guest List, as well as who was on the list on December 1st.


  1. My rolling MVP calculations take the form of a table at a restaurant. That table has four seats. That’s it. No adding seats, no joining tables together, no sharing a seat with your teammate. Just four. These are the truest of candidates.

  2. Those players who deserve recognition and are in the wider conversation are in the restaurant, but are waiting at the bar for a seat at the table to become available. The bar can have a maximum of six people waiting for a seat at the table at any one time. These are the players who were unlucky to miss out on the table, but with some good luck, may find themselves there soon.

  3. Factors taken into account are statistics, difficulty of schedule, level of teammate support, games played, team record and numerous others, including the eye test and subjective opinion.

  4. The order in which players are listed either at the table, or at the bar, is random. Myself, and the rest of team will make our final MVP picks later in the season prior to the award being announced.

  5. Players will come and go from the table, as well as the bar, as the season goes on. If you disagree with the guest list I outline, let me know on Twitter (@BMBTPodcast) or send an email to!

December 1st Guest List:

The Table:

  1. Chris Paul – Phoenix Suns

  2. Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers

  3. Giannis Antetokoumnpo – Milwaukee Bucks

  4. Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors

The Bar:

  1. Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz

  2. Jimmy Butler – Miami Heat

  3. Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets

  4. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets

  5. Demar Derozan – Chicago Bulls

  6. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards

Without further ado, as of January 1st, 2022, my MVP guest list:


Nikola Jokic: 26.3ppg, 13.5rpg, 7.5apg, 1.3spg, 0.7bpg, 38.1% 3FG, W/L 15-15

While teams across the Association have been dealing with missing personnel due to the league’s Health and Safety protocols in December, the Nuggets have been dealing with absentees since the start of the season.

Sure, we knew about Jamal Murray’s extended absence long ago, but since the start of the season Denver have also lost PJ Dozier, Michael Porter, Bol Bol, Markus Howard, JaMychal Green and even Bones Hyland with various injury concerns. Enter Nikola Jokic. While the reigning MVP has missed five games this season, none have been in the last month, and this helps elevate him to a place at the table on my MVP Guest List.

While the Nuggets are flailing and struggling to simply find bodies to put on the court, Jokic continued to carry the heaviest of burdens on his shoulders. He scored in double-digits in every contest through December and failed to log double-digit rebounds only once – a seven rebound outing against Oklahoma City.

Jokic’s game may be un-spectacular, but he continues to rise in my MVP Guest List. Credit: CBS Sports

To show just how superb Jokic has been, we can see he finished the month averaging 25.6 points and 20.5 rebounds in his last three matchups – all the while notching impressive wins over the Clippers and Warriors.

Jokic continues to be the life-blood of the Nuggets team on both ends of the floor. While he occasionally gets help from the inconsistent Aaron Gordon and crafty Facundo Campazzo, assistance outside of those options is few and far between. Jokic has been immense and, while not the sexiest pick, is thoroughly deserving of his place at the table.

Kevin Durant: 29.7ppg, 7.9rpg, 5.9apg, 0.6spg, 0.9bpg, 38.2% 3FG, W/L 23-11

When the Brooklyn Nets announced on December 17th that they would allow Kyrie Irving to return to the team despite not being eligible to play home games due to vaccine mandates in New York, we all thought Durant was getting some help. In a cruel twist of irony, however, Irving was placed into Health and Safety protocols before he could play a single game, leaving the All-NBA talent to continue to shoulder the load.

Durant has done that and more over the season thus far, with a rotating roster of players coming in and out. He has played – and played well – with any combination of personnel the Nets can scrape together – from aging veterans to playing with four other bench players in the starting unit.

His performances continue to be elite – highlighted in December by a 51 point outing against Detroit where he also poured in 9 rebounds, 7 assists and two blocks on 51% shooting from the field. In addition to some gawdy numbers, Durant has also been an absolute tank for Coach Steve Nash, logging an average of 40 minutes and five seconds of game-time during the month.

Kevin Durant has kept the Brooklyn Nets afloat in December without James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Credit: Sixers Wire – USA Today

Durant also shot better than 50% from the field in half of his games in December, shot 91.9% from the line on over seven attempts per contest and totalled double digit rebounds in four of the ten contests he suited up for.

While James Harden has now returned from his absence and Kyrie Irving’s return is on the horizon, Durant has kept his team afloat without his co-stars all while playing astonishing minutes with incredible efficiency.

Take a well-deserved seat at the table, KD.

Chris Paul: 14.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 10.0apg, 2.0spg, 0.3bpg, 32.9% 3FG, W/L 28-8

Chris Paul holds his spot down at the MVP table following another great month in December. While his numbers were not always gawdy, Paul continues to be Mr Reliable for the Suns, helping propel them to the second best record in the Western Conference.

As I wrote about last month, Paul’s ability to control a games pace and put his teammates in position to score remains almost unmatched amongst the current crop of NBA players. This ability is highlighted, and made even more valuable, when the other stars and starters on Phoenix’s roster miss games, like DeAndre Ayton (five), Devin Booker (seven) and Jae Crowder (three) have in the past month.

Chris Paul remains a constant for Phoenix. Credit: FadeAway World

Paul is also still capable of having a vintage performance every now and then, as seen by a 24 point and 14 assist masterclass in a win against Portland on December 15th, and a 13 point, 13 assist and three steal outing against Memphis on December 27th.

Paul may be aging, but his consistency remains arguably his greatest attribute as his teammates deal with various ailments and the ongoing Covid-19 Health and Safety protocols that have the entire league struggling to stay on the court.

Paul has been a constant for Phoenix and his ability to elevate the game of anyone who shares the court with him and keep the Suns at the top of the League’s standings means he can hold his seat at the table.

Demar DeRozan: 26.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.2apg, 0.9spg, 0.3bpg, 33.3% 3FG, W/L 24-10

Making his first appearance at the table at the expense of Paul George, Demar DeRozan finally gets the respect he has deserved all season.

The veteran wing continues to dominate for Chicago, whose hot start hasn’t tailed off. They even currently lead the Eastern Conference with a 24-10 record despite a slew of absences, particularly in the last month. Key rotation pieces like Lonzo Ball (five), Alex Caruso (seven) and Zach Lavine (two) have all missed time in the last month, on top of Nikola Vucevic who missed a seven-game stretch during November.

DeMar Derozan rises up to hit the game-winner against Indiana to finish the Bulls December schedule. Credit: Indy Star

Demar may have missed three games during December, but he’s been a constant in Chicago’s line-up otherwise, playing every other game for the season thus far. He also strung together an amazing December stretch, averaging 29.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game all while shooting 51.5% from the field.

Most importantly, those stats resulted in a perfect eight wins from eight outings when he took the court, including this buzzer-beater against Indiana to round out the month.

DeRozan is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in the windy city, helping his team both on and off the court with excellent play and veteran leadership as the Bulls continue to remain among the league’s best teams.

Welcome to the table, DeMar.

The Bar:

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUMNPO: 27.0ppg, 11.6rpg, 5.8apg, 1.1spg, 1.6bpg, 28.0% 3FG, W/L 25-13

RUDY GOBERT: 15.4ppg, 15.0rpg, 1.1apg, 0.8spg, 2.2bpg, 0.0% 3FG, W/L 26-10

STEPH CURRY: 27.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 6.0apg, 1.6spg, 0.5bpg, 39.6% 3FG, W/L 28-7

LEBRON JAMES: 26.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 6.6apg, 1.7spg, 1.0bpg, 34.9% 3FG, W/L 18-19

JARRETT ALLEN: 16.8ppg, 10.8rpg, 2.0apg, 0.9spg, 1.4bpg, 16.7% 3FG, W/L 21-16

JOEL EMBIID: 25.1ppg, 10.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.2spg, 1.4bpg, 35.7% 3FG, W/L 19-16

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