2024 NBA MVP Ladder: Nikola Jokic’s Likely Third MVP Puts Him In Exclusive Company With 8 Other NBA Legends – For The Win

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2024 NBA MVP Ladder: Nikola Jokic’s Likely Third MVP Puts Him In Exclusive Company With 8 Other NBA Legends – For The Win

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Welcome to BetFTW’s NBA MVP rankings for the 2023-2024 season. Throughout the regular season, each week we tracked where the wind was blowing for the league’s biggest individual regular season reward. Without further ado, here is our latest tracker update with the playoffs finally on the way.

The NBA regular season is finally (thankfully) over. This means we can start turning our attention to the play-in… hey, wait a minute! There’s still this whole MVP discussion to sort out. It’s my fault, dear readers.

I don’t think there’s too much reason to pontificate anymore. When the sports betting odds for regular season MVP closed, Nikola Jokic was a heavy favorite, which was basically also the case for about two months to close out the year. For all intents and purposes, the focal point is a virtual lock to win his third MVP award in four seasons. And this kind of achievement will put him in a very rare situation.

You see, at this point, only eight players in the NBA have ever won the MVP award at least three times. The shortlist includes: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Michael Jordan (5), Bill Russell (5), LeBron James (4), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Larry Bird (3), Magic Johnson (3) and Moses Malone (3). Eight whole names, folks. Barring an absolutely shocking turn of events, we’ll soon be able to add Jokic to this list that includes the league’s second all-time leading scorer (Abdul-Jabbar), arguably the greatest players of all time (Jordan or James), and some of the most important and unique basketball talents of all time (Chamberlain, Russell, Bird, Johnson, Malone).

Seriously, who would have thought that one day Nikola Jokic could have as many MVPs as Bird and Johnson? And he is still at the peak of his career. This should tell you everything you need to know.

What I’m trying to say is good luck getting Jokic into the all-time player conversations now. He firmly belongs there, and the likely three-time MVP should probably be ranked higher in these conversations than the general consensus might believe. For what? Because Jokic is also one of the greatest and most unique basketball talents of all time. Complete stop.

Let’s take one last look (unofficial vote) at this season’s NBA MVP race and focus on why Jokic deserves it more than his fellow superstars. Note: All official MVP betting odds are not available at this time.

March 21, 2024;  Washington, District of Columbia, United States;  Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) reacts after being fouled while shooting during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. March 21, 2024;  Washington, District of Columbia, United States;  Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) reacts after being fouled while shooting during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 7

The Kings fell off a cliff to finish the regular season, going just 4-6 in their final 10 games. All of this isn’t Sabonis’ fault – we can blame the respective injuries on Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter – but it does raise an important question. How valuable is Sabonis really? Is this Kings team destined to forever straddle the line between play-in and first-round exit? At the very least, the productive Sabonis finished this year extremely far from the MVP conversation, even if he deserved to be mentioned.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: ten

The Suns’ planned season-ending death gauntlet was saved by two beatdowns of the Minnesota Timberwolves — that is, two wins that knocked Phoenix out of the play-in and faced a flawed team in the Minnesota in the first round. Booker’s determination to solidify the Suns as a de facto point guard should not go unnoticed.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 9

Although he clearly lost a step as he approached his twilight years, the 35-year-old Durant’s NBA season remained one of the most efficient shooting of his entire career. Emboldened by their leader, the Suns could make some noise this spring. And it will be only happen if Durant makes his required jump shots.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 8

LeBron James is 39 years old and just finished his 21st NBA regular season. He averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds with an effective shooting percentage (EFG) of nearly 60 percent. Those are numbers mostly comparable to his back-to-back MVP seasons for the Miami Heat over a decade ago. Just wow. Again, James is 39 years old with 21 seasons under his belt. None of this is normal.

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Last week: 6

When (or if) Tatum learns to control the game like his peers at the top of the MVP discussion, then he can be a strong contender for the award. Until then, the two-way forward should consider himself lucky to be a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and able to focus on that assignment.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 5

Minnesota’s season ended with a whimper. Not only did the Timberwolves lose the No. 1 seed in the West, but they ended up falling all the way to No. 3 following some careless play near the finish line. But recklessness doesn’t describe Anthony Edwards, who was tasked with propping up the offensively struggling Timberwolves for more than a month without Karl-Anthony Towns. He did his job – Minnesota went a competent 13-7 without Towns. It could have been much worse.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 4

Milwaukee’s internal conflicts combined with a late-season calf strain will likely define how we remember Antetokounmpo’s last season. That’s unfortunate, considering he’s been an absolute dynamo in the paint and on the glass for nearly six months. Antetokounmpo leaves it on the floor every night like no one else. For the most part, the results generally benefit his Bucks in the win column.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 3

Gilgeous-Alexander was instrumental in helping the Thunder tie (a tiebreaker for them) for their first No. 1 seed in over a decade. But if this was an MVP/rankings race all the way down the stretch, unlike most years, Gilgeous-Alexander would unfortunately have to be penalized for a glut of uninspiring performances down the stretch. Injuries came into play at the worst time for Gilgeous-Alexander, but part of being an MVP, especially in this ultra-competitive race, is all about consistent availability. And production.

Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 2

The NBA’s scoring leader, Doncic is arguably the best offensive engine in NBA basketball on a nightly basis. And with a few key midseason trades, Dallas reinvented itself as a contender around a franchise player seemingly evolving into his final Goliath form. If I were an NBA team, Doncic would easily inspire the most fear. Well, other than the best man on this list.

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 1

There’s nothing more I can say about Nikola Jokic that doesn’t sound like a broken record. As he approaches 30, the Denver big man has arguably had the most efficient season of his career. In a year where the defending champion Nuggets had a target on their back, where their top running mate Jamal Murray missed more than 20 games and where Denver included two second-year players in its playoff top 7, Jokic was positively sublime. Without a momentary lapse in concentration, the Nuggets would have once again finished with the No. 1 seed in a more than intimidating Western Conference.

This is a huge testament to Jokic and his greatness, as he will likely officially become one of the most decorated superstars in NBA history. If he can win another title and a Finals MVP later in June, then this regular season honor will almost be like gravy for an icon.

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