NBA MVP Ladder 2.0: Is the award Joel Embiid’s to lose in the second half of the season?

Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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NBA Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

In our NBA MVP Ladder 2.0, Joel Embii continues to separate himself from the rest of the candidates. 

When the 2020-21 NBA season first began, there were plenty of likely candidates who were in line to win this prestigious award. Some of those players remained in the race as they played spectacular basketball and emerged as frontrunners while others lost momentum and kind of fell back.

These players have no doubt made this season an exciting one to watch so far as the narrative has been interesting and entertaining. Here is a list composed of the players who have established themselves as favorites to win the NBA MVP award at the halfway point.

Some players who were deserving of consideration may have been omitted, but this list is based on performance from the first part of the season. I’m sure new candidates will emerge and I’m sure other players will re-establish themselves as we all look forward to the second half of the NBA season.

NBA MVP Ladder, No. 6: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard deserves consideration for MVP just due to the fact that he is keeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the playoff race while missing key pieces CJ McCollum and Jusef Nurkic. “Dame Time” has been in full effect as he has been money in clutch situations all season long.

Lillard is the dark horse candidate as his chances always appear slim at best, but you can never count him out. He always is on the outside looking in and constantly remains in the MVP conversation as Lillard has continued to supersede expectations. Just look at the numbers. Lillard is currently fourth in the NBA in points per game averaging 29.8, seventh in assists at 8.0, third in free throw percentage at 89 percent and is second in 3-pointers made with 146 total and connecting on 4.3 treys per contest.

The main thing that keeps Lillard in the MVP conversation is the fact that the Blazers are currently sitting in fifth place in the West, but can the Blazers obtain enough wins to help Lillard’s case by season’s end? The opportunity is wide open for Lillard to sway voters in his favor if he can continue to keep the Blazers trending upward in the standings.