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Rolling MVP Guest List: January 1st

The New Year has rolled around, and it's time to check out who has been dominating in the NBA as we tip off 2023!

Up front, this month features multiple players who probably wouldn't make the list if I was doing it a little later in the season due to injuries. However, given their dominance prior to their injuries and the time of the season we find ourselves in, I wanted to note their performances while I could.

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!

December 1st Guest List:

The Table:

  • Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks

  • Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies

The Bar:

  • De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

  • Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors

  • Lauri Markkanen – Utah Jazz

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

  • Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

  • Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets

Without further ado, as of January 1st, 2023, my MVP guest list:


1. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics – 30.2ppg, 8.2rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, 0.9bpg, 35.8% 3FG, 26-10 W/L.

The Celtics had a small slump during December (relatively speaking) but still remain on top of the Eastern Conference. Speaking of things that remain the same, Jayson Tatum is still the one powering them to that position.

December was rocky for Tatum and the team as a whole who went 1-5 over a horrible stretch from December 10th -21st, however it’s no surprise that his change in fortunes coincided with the team winning their final four games of the month against quality opposition.

The Celtics have struggled a little this month, but Jayson Tatum's play has remained elite. Credit: Sporting News

During that four-game stretch, Tatum averaged a plus-minus of +8. This is a near universal benchmark for MVP winners across a season and Tatum’s per game average for the entire season sits at +7.5.

2. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns – 28.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.8apg, 0.9spg, 0.4bpg, 37.0% 3FG, 20-17 W/L

I maintain that last season CP3 was the Suns most important player, but given Booker performances in his absence, I can’t resist anymore.

It’s true he missed a big chunk of time in December (eight games in total), but during the nine appearances he did make, he truly was the difference maker for the Suns who were faltering.

Devin Booker focusses on making a free throw during their big win over New Orleans in December . Credit: Sporting News

Booker delivered multiple 50-point outings since my last list (November 30th, 51 points and December 17th, 58 points) in addition to a 41 point outing on December 2nd. His scoring ability has kept the Suns afloat in multiple games and while he will miss the better part of all of January and possibly longer, his play to this point in the season has him deserving of his spot for now.

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks 34.2ppg, 8.3rpg, 8.9apg, 1.6spg, 0.6bpg, 34.7% 3FG, 21-16 W/L.

To avoid this paragraph focussing solely on one game from the last month, I’ll get a few things out of the way now.

Doncic is leading the NBA in scoring at over 34ppg and continues to be all things to all people on the offensive end, racking up close to 9 assists every night. The Mavericks have been winning games lately too, picking up eleven wins in the month of December compared to only six losses.

But really, we only need to mention Doncic’s history 60-21-10 night on December 27th against the Knicks to tell the story as to why he is on the table for MVP. No player since the 1060’s had tallied 60 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game. Those 60 points set a new franchise record for a single game, eclipsing Dirk’s 53 in 2004. Advanced metrics also ranked it as the fifth best game by an individual since the three point era (1979-1980).

Luka Doncic retrieves his own missed free-throw, before firing in this shot over three New York players to force overtime during his historic 60-21-10 night against the Knicks. Credit: The New York Times

Oh yeah, he also deliberated bricked a free throw to get his own rebound and hit a jumper and force overtime. Just insane.

4. Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers 27.4ppg, 12.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.3spg, 2.1bpg, 29.0% 3FG, 15-21 W/L.

As is often the case with AD, injuries will prevent us from seeing more of his phenomenal play as we go forward. The Lakers star is dealing with a stress injury in his right foot and there is no timetable for his return at this stage. Having said that, the oft-injured big man was playing to an MVP level before he went down.

December started so promisingly, with Davis logging 44 and 55 point performances in back-to-back outings, most importantly, in back to back wins for LA. Both of those scoring outbursts were balanced with double-digit rebounds and three blocks, showing Davis was a beast on both ends of the floor.

Anthony Davis' play was elite before going down with a right foot injury earlier this month. Credit: Sporting News

He logged three more performances with 30 or more points and 12 or more rebounds before succumbing to injury on December 16th, but Davis’ case was already made in my mind, and that is why he is on this list right now.

With the big out indefinitely going forward, enjoy it while you can Laker fans. He won’t be here next month.


5. Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings

6. Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans

7. Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

9. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets

10. Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets

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!

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