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Joel Embiid (-1000)

Embiid appears to have run away with this contest over the course of the past month, though there’s still a viable case to be made for any of these three candidates now that the regular season has come to an end.

Statistically speaking, Embiid wins the scoring title at 33.1 points per game. He finished 7th in rebounds (10.2), 7th in blocks (1.7), & 49th in assists (4.2). He averaged 34.6 minutes in 66 games played this season. When factoring in a few more advanced metrics, he ranked 2nd in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) at 31.4 behind only Jokic (31.5), 3rd in Usage (37%) behind Giannis & Jokic, and 14th in True Shooting Percentage (.655)

Contractually speaking, Embiid has now completed his rookie extension, a deal that paid out $146.8M across the 2018-2022 seasons. His previously agreed to veteran extension will begin next season, and currently projects to $210.1M through the 2026-2027 campaign (assumes a $134M league salary cap next season). The 29-year-old will see salaries of $47M, $50M, $54M, plus a $58M player option over the next four years, pushing him well over the $300M career earnings mark.


Nikola Jokic (+1200)

The back-to-back defending MVP probably saw his chances extinguished with a late season calf injury (and a bit of load management) down the stretch, but it doesn’t curtail what amounts to another outstanding season from the 28-year-old.

Statistically speaking, Jokic finished 18th in points per game (24.5), tied for 2nd in total rebounds (11.8), 3rd in assists (9.8), & 20th in steals (1.3). He averaged 33.7 minutes in 69 games played this regular season. In more advanced terms, he led the league in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) for the 3rd straight season at 31.5, led the league in True Shooting Percentage (.701) and was 33rd in Usage (27.2%). Joker was 10th & 21st in Usage in each of his past two MVP seasons, so it’s fair to note that Denver dialed back his touches a bit this year as the Nuggets got a little deeper and healthier as a unit.

Contractually speaking, Jokic has now completed his rookie extension, a deal that paid out $145.8M across 2018-2022. He steps into a projected 5 year, $272M supermax veteran extension (based on a $134M league salary cap next season), that includes salaries of $47M, $50M, $54M, $58M, & a $62M player option through 2027-28. He’ll be 32-years-old when a decision on that option salary must be made.


Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1200)

The 2018-19 & 2019-20 league MVP likely falls a little short this time around, despite another highly productive year personally, and #1 seed in the East for his Milwaukee Bucks.

Statistically speaking, Giannis finished 5th in scoring at 31.1 points per game, 3rd in rebounds at 11.8, and 26th in assists at 5.7. He averaged 32.1 minutes across 63 regular season games played. In more advanced terms, Giannis finished 3rd in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) at 29.0, behind both Embiid & Jokic, 62nd in True Shooting % (.605), and was afforded the highest Usage Rate in the league at 38.8% - the highest rate since James Harden’s 40.5 for Houston back in 2018-19.


Contractually speaking, Giannis is locked up for another 2 years, $94.3M, with a $52M player option built into the 2025-26 campaign, his age 31 season. An extension discussion likely won’t come until the 2024 offseason, when Antetokounmpo will be essentially entering a contract year with Milwaukee. 


In the Mix

Jayson Tatum

Scored 30.1 points in nearly 37 minutes across 74 games. Posted career years in points, rebounds assists, 2 point percentage and turnovers. His contract holds 2 years, $67.4M through 2024-25, plus a $37M player option in 2025-2026.


Luka Doncic

Was the scoring title runner-up at 32.4 points, finding over 36 minutes of action in 66 games. He was 6th in assists (8.0), and 24th in rebounds (8.6), despite the Mavericks falling apart down the stretch and ultimately missing the postseason. His contract carries 3 years, $129M guaranteed through the 2025-26 season, with a $49M player option in 2026-2027 his age 27 year.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Finished 4th in scoring with at 31.4 points per at a 51% field goal percentage rate in 68 regular season games. His free throw percentage also shot over 90% for the first time in his career. He'll enter Year 2 of a 5 year $179M contract, with $148M fully guaranteed through the 2026-27 season (his age 28 year).


MVP + Title?

The league MVP has won the title that same season 24 times, or 35% of the time. While this seems a fairly big number, it hasn’t been done since Steph in 2014-15.