Rolling MVP Guest List: March 1st
The All-Star game has come and gone, and with it another bruise-free contest making me yearn for any semblance of a rivalry on the hardwood. Luckily, after a painful five or so days, the NBA resumed and as we wrap up February and head towards the long road to the Playoffs, it’s time to once again look at who should be the favourite to take out this season’s MVP Award.
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!
February 1st Guest List:
Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics
Nikola Jokic – Denver nuggets
Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings
Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Oklahoma City Thunder
Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans
Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets
Without further ado, as of March 1st, 2023, my MVP guest list:
1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets– 24.5ppg, 11.6rpg, 10.0apg, 1.3spg, 0.7bpg, 40.2% 3FG, 42-19 W/L
Every month, I sit down and go through the data to figure out who will be on this list and every month, I am shocked to see the level Jokic has been playing at.
Jokic has basically piloted the Nuggets to 7-2 record in the games he played in February, and did it with averages of 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists per contest. He also put up a block a game just for good measure and all of those stats add up to an eye-watering plus-minus figure of +13.8 per game!
Nikola Jokic's play during February saw him register an eye-watering plus-minus of +13.8 per game. Credit: SportsNet
The Nuggets are the #1 seed in the Western Conference, are five games clear of the #2 seed Grizzlies and don’t look like slowing down, so it’s impossible to keep him off this list.
2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics – 30.4ppg, 8.7rpg, 4.6apg, 1.0spg, 0.8bpg, 35.5% 3FG, 44-17 W/L.
Much like Jokic, Tatum has been in the conversation for MVP all season, and again, like Jokic, he has piloted his team to an exceptional record throughout February.
The team is 8-1 in games he appeared in this month and while his scoring numbers have been down a little compared to previous months (26.8ppg in February compared to 30.4ppg on the season), Tatum has continued to be elite.
His game-winning three against Philadelphia on the road just a few days ago highlights not only his consistency, but also crunch-time ability for a Celtics team who holds the best record in the league, and he will be in contention for MVP right down to the final decision.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks– 31.3ppg, 12.0rpg, 5.4apg, 0.8spg, 0.8bpg, 27.0% 3FG, 43-17 W/L.
I must admit, I toyed with the idea of moving Giannis out of his spot at the table for this month in favour of Joel Embiid or Domantas Sabonis, but ultimately decided against it.
Giannis has been dealing with a wrist injury in recent times that forced him to miss all but the opening seconds of the All-Star game, but despite only scoring 2 and 4 points respectively due to limited minutes in games bookending the All-Star break, he still averaged 28.5pp, 11.1rpg and 6.1apg across February.
Putting up those numbers while injured is ridiculous and as great as Jokic’s month was, Giannis’ was almost its equal, with the Greek Freak racking up an average plus-minus of +12.8 across February.
The team is only half a game behind the Celtics as the top team in the East and could well hold the league’s best record when the regular season wraps up.
4. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers – 33.1ppg, 10.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, 1.6bpg, 34.0% 3FG, 39-20 W/L.
This spot last month belonged to Luka Doncic, and after a January stretch not befitting of his talent, I warned that his spot might be in danger. After the performances Embiid has dishes up in February, he’s deserving of taking the young phenom’s spot at the table.
Joel Embiid may have been snubbed as an All-Star starter, but his February play has seen him knock of Luka Doncic in my Rolling MVP Guest List calculations. Credit: Hoops Habit
Embiid is a unique character in the NBA landscape, and despite his immense talent, is somewhat overlooked in favour of names who have been more consistently made deep Playoff runs. The MVP award however is a regular season award, and his play for the entire season has been elite.
In the past month however, Embiid has put up 31ppg, 11.7rpg, 3.9apg with over a block and a steal a contest, and the 76ers recorded a record of 7-3. He exploded for 41 points in a loss to the Celtics only to have his game-tying full court shot leave his hand after the buzzer, and racked up 30+ points in more than half of his games through February.
The factor that elevated him onto this list this month however was his +8.6 plus-minus per contest – compared to Doncic’s +0.6 – across the month.
Let’s see if Embiid can hold his spot into April.
5. Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings
6. De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings
7. Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies
8. Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks
9. Kevin Durant – Phoenix Suns
10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Oklahoma City Thunder
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 email@example.com!
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