NBA MVP Ladder 1.0: Anointing a favorite as preseason gets underway

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers - Mandatory credit: Tim Nwachukwu-Getty Images
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers - Mandatory credit: Tim Nwachukwu-Getty Images /

In our first NBA MVP Ladder of the year, we anoint a favorite for the 2022-23 season. 

The NBA is in a moment of such parity that trying to predict who will be the MVP of the 2022-23 regular season seems like an impossible mission. Nikola Jokic has won the MVP for the past two seasons, but each year saw a tight battle between him and the contenders. And this year, it’s likely going to be the same.

Starting with Jokic, he wants to win the championship and must take care of his health in the regular season, and he will again have help from Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. who missed almost the entire 2021-22 season with various injuries.

Between the regular season and playoffs games, the Serbian played 2647 minutes in 79 games and had almost no respite on offense and defense.

Now, with the return of Murray and Porter Jr., Jokic will not have to carry all the weight on offense, and players like Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will allow him not to be overextended on defense.

The NBA is not ready for Jayson Tatum’s MVP candidacy

Jayson Tatum is a player who seems to have lived a thousand NBA lives and everyone seems to overlook the fact that he is only 24 years old. Still, he’s been to the playoffs five times already and his game is getting better and better as the years go by.

Faced with the Ime Udoka situation, injuries to Robert Williams III and Danilo Gallinari, and new faces on the team, Tatum will have to step up to calm the waters and appease the fans.

How? The only way he knows how: by scoring and being one of the best in the NBA. And, why not, the MVP?

The EuroBasket stars

Giannis Antetokounmpo has blood in his eyes.

He comes from losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics and spent the summer between individual workouts and a EuroBasket in which he showed tremendous progress in terms of game understanding and shooting mechanics.

Even though Greece was eliminated from the tournament, Giannis was a member of the All-EuroBasket first team, the leading scorer (29.3 points per game), and the sixth-best rebounder (8.8).

Another player who spend the summer doing weights and playing EuroBasket was Luka Doncic. He took social media by storm as he led Slovenia to the quarterfinals by being the master of the offense.

Not only did he look like a much leaner figure, but he always understood when to score and when to assist his teammates. He was the fourth-best scorer (26.0) and the eighth-best passer (6.6). He is ready to go for the MVP candidacy.

The clearest MVP candidate

And, now, the clearest MVP candidate. Yes, Joel Embiid. The third time’s the charm for him. Must be. James Harden killed himself in the gym in the offseason and the center will just have to feedback on all the opportunities he generates with the lefty in the pick-and-roll.

Philadelphia has the best team in years and Joel will continue to be the point guard, with all that implies. Last season’s thirst for revenge, health, and maturity, all form a motivational package that can be deadly.

The Sixers can compete against anyone, and if they start winning, Embiid will be the top dog.

Next. Los Angeles Lakers: 3 bold predictions for the 2022-23 NBA season. dark

And you guys, who do you think will take the NBA MVP award?