Rolling MVP Guest List: December 1st
We have officially ticked over the one month mark into the NBA season and the picture is starting to get a little clearer.
Early season surges have cooled off, teams who faltered early are finding their groove and for the most part MVP candidacies are becoming stronger and stronger with every passing game.
With that said, a reminder about the rules I use to determine who is on the Rolling MVP Guest List at any time.
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 by sending an email to BMBTPodcast@gmail.com!
November 1st Guest List:
Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics
Lauri Markkanen – Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert – Minnesota Timberwolves
Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers
Donovan Mitchell – Cleveland Cavaliers
James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers
Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks
Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies
Without further ado, as of December 1st, 2022, my MVP guest list:
1. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics – 30.5ppg, 7.9rpg, 4.6apg, 0.8spg, 1.2bpg, 35.2% 3FG, 16-4 W/L.
As far as life goes, it couldn’t be much better for Tatum and the Celtics up in Boston.
After rallying to make a Finals appearance last season, the C’s have picked up where they left off, even without the presence of Robert Williams III this season, and Tatum’s play is arguably the biggest reason why.
In the month of November, Tatum has been superb, helping the team rack up a 12-2 record despite taking on some great teams like Cleveland, Memphis, Denver, New Orleans and Dallas during that period. He’s also upped his presence on the boards to help out the team’s depleted big-man stocks, contributing double-digit rebounds half a dozen times.
Jayson Tatum, and the Celtics as a team, haven't skipped a beat to start the season. Credit: Sporting News.
For all of the advanced metrics lovers, Tatum has had an average plus-minus of +9.0 this month, and a season average of +6.5. For anyone who doesn’t follow this metric closely, all you need to know is that Denver’s Nikola Jokic has won the last two MVP Awards with averages of +5.3 and +5.9 per game.
Tatum gets the first mention this month, and if his play continues at this level, it’s unlikely he’ll leave the table all season.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder – 31.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 6.2apg, 1.7spg, 1.3bpg, 35.7% 3FG, 8-12 W/L.
I came into last season full of optimism about SGA, but it turns out I was just 12 months early.
Gilgeous-Alexander has been tearing it up in November, almost solidifying himself as an All-Star lock and delivering big shot after big shot for the Thunder. He appears to have taken his game to the next level, and although I have fears this will change going forward, has played in all except one of Oklahoma’s games this season.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander appears to be delivering on his enormous potential in a big way this season, and is looking like a first time All-Star. Credit: Alonzo Adams - USA TODAY Sports
During a five-game stretch from November 9-16th, Shai was particularly electric, putting up 35 points a night to go with four rebounds, six assists nearly two steals and better than a block per game. Perhaps even more impressively, during this stretch he shot 56% from the floor on the back of an insane 52.9% from behind the arc!
The Thunder’s record is the lone blemish on SGA’s start to the season, and it will likely be his downfall as the season goes on. Regardless, his play has been truly elite this month and he is deserving of recognition and a spot on the table to this stage of the season.
3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks – 33.1ppg, 8.7rpg, 8.4apg, 1.7spg, 0.5bpg, 30.7% 3FG, 9-10 W/L.
Doncic is the NBA’s leading scorer and has had a string of amazing performances in November, helping him secure his place at the Table after being at the Bar last month.
Doncic has racked up 30 or more points in seven of a possible twelve games since my last guest list, and even cracked 40 twice – a 42 point triple-double in a win over Portland, and a 42 point, eight rebound and nine assist effort in an unfortunate loss to Boston. He’s also been able to get to the foul line with ease, racking up eighteen attempts in that game against Portland, and attempting nine or more shots from the charity stripe in all except two match-ups this month.
Luka Doncic leads the league in scoring, but his team is faltering despite his elite play. Credit: The Sacramento Bee
The Mavericks record is lacking at this stage in the season and there is a real possibility that he will lose his place at the table if the team doesn’t correct this going forward, but his play has been elite and the Mavs showed last season they can reel off winning streaks when they rattled off 25 wins from their last 32 games.
4. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies – 28.5ppg, 6.4rpg, 7.6apg, 1.1spg, 0.3bpg, 37.0% 3FG, 12-8 W/L.
Ja Morant took a genuine leap last season from good player and team leader to elite level All-Star, and it might be almost unbelievable to say, but he’s taken another leap so far this season.
The numbers have always told the story of just how supremely talented Morant is on the court, but the results in the games he has missed so far this season also paint a picture. Unlike last year when the Grizzlies were able to win a streak of games while Morant was on the sideline, Memphis are currently 0-3 when Morant fails to take to the hard wood.
He’s been following Derrick Rose’s career trajectory almost from the moment he entered the league, and Rose was the league’s youngest ever MVP in 2010-2011 at the age of just 22. Morant is a little older at 23 years of age, but his statistics are basically identical, if not greater, than that of Rose during his MVP season.
Ja Morant has been folling in the footsteps of Derrick Rose's early career trajectory. Is this the season he too brings home the MVP Award? Credit: Bleacher Report
Let’s also foreshadow what could lie ahead of Morant with this: I mentioned earlier Jayson Tatum has a per-game plus-minus of +6.5 this season, which is greater than Nikola Jokic achieved in both of the last two seasons in which he was named MVP. Morant is currently averaging +6.2 per game.
Tatum is in the front seat according to the advanced stats, but if he falters, Ja Morant looks like he’s ready to take the crown with both hands.
5. De’Aron Fox – Sacramento Kings
6. Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors
7. Lauri Markkanen – Utah Jazz
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
9. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns
10. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
So what do you think? Did I get it right? Did I mess it up?
Let me know by signing up for an account and commenting on this post, or by emailing the show at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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