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Week 5 MVP Ladder: A Familiar Face Joins the List

For most of the MVP candidates week five was a shot back down to earth. For the first month of the season guys like Giannis, Tatum, Luka, and Donovan Mitchell had been playing at such a high level it seemed unsustainable. They came back to reality a little bit, but one guy decided not to. Steph Curry is yet again making a push at the NBA MVP. The 34 year-old is having one of the best seasons of his life so far, opposite of his struggling Warriors. This MVP race could very well come down to how much the voters care about team record. Here is my Week 5 NBA MVP Ladder:

The Next 5 (In no order): Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell

5. Joel Embiid

Season Stats: 32.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.6 APG, 52.1 FG%, 8-8 Record (4 Games Missed)

The 76ers big man has been on an absolute tear the last two weeks. Embiid only played twice this week but put up 32 points in each of those outings. In his last four, he is averaging 41/10/7. Not too bad. Philadelphia is still stuck in neutral toward the middle of the Eastern Conference. Embiid has been carrying a big load on offense, and will until Harden returns. He is currently averaging a career-high in points, assists, free throws made, and field goal percentage. While he has mostly flown under the radar so far this year, if the Sixers can get some momentum, Embiid can work his way up the ladder.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Season Stats: 29.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.3 APG, 50.6 FG%, 11-4 Record(Missed 3 Games)

It was not a good week for the two-time MVP. I'm sure everyone saw the ladder incident at the Wells Fargo Center, which brought him maybe the first bit of negative attention he's seen since he's been in the NBA. He played just twice, putting up a combined 41 points on 16/40 shooting. The free throw shooting is becoming an issue again, as Giannis is at just 50.0% on the season and has only made eight of his last twenty-six. Milwaukee has lost three of four and looks desperate for the return of All-Star Khris Middleton. Regardless, Giannis is still Giannis. He is still having a good season on one of the best teams in the league even after this recent slump. Look for Antetokounmpo to make a statement this week as the Bucks face four likely playoff teams in a row.

3. Steph Curry

Season Stats: 32.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.1 APG, 52.9 FG%,8-9 Record

Is it possible for a two-time MVP, four-time NBA Champ, and top 20 player of all-time to become underrated? Steph Curry says so. Steph might be having the best scoring season of his life, and it seems to be going mostly unnoticed because Golden State looks so bad. Steph is shooting an incredible 44.7% from deep, close to the best of his career. He currently has the highest true shooting percentage for one season by any guard in NBA history not named Kyle Korver (2014-15). His 5.3 three's made per game is the highest of his NBA career. To put it simply: Steph is still in his prime. While many people labeled his playoff run last year as the cap to an amazing career, Steph is still hungry for more. If the Warriors were in the playoff picture, Steph would be #1.

2. Jayson Tatum

Season Stats: 30.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 47.3 FG%, 13-3 Record

The numbers might not agree, but I think this was an okay week for Tatum. He struggled mightily from the floor, shooting below 40% in all three games. The Tatum of old would have been totally eliminated from these games as a one-dimensional scorer. The new Jayson Tatum can find a way to impact games without his elite scoring ability. In the Celtics last two games he combined for 18 assists and 14 rebounds. Tatum's playmaking has once again improved, and it keeps him from being taken out of a game like he could last year. He is a complete player on both ends of the floor. As far as his team, they just keep on winning. Boston is currently riding a nine-game win streak with a legitimate chance for a lot more.

1. Luka Doncic

Season Stats: 33.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.1 APG, 49.4 FG%, 9-7 Record

Luka has continued his dominance of the NBA through the first month. The James Harden comparisons are becoming more and more obvious as the season progresses. Putting up insane numbers on a mediocre team is what Doncic is doing right now. He is having one of the best offensive seasons in a long time. Outside of Houston James Harden, Luka is averaging the most points per game since 2005 Kobe Bryant. He is putting up these numbers despite a career-low 28.8% from three. Luka is the best offensive player in the league today, and if he can keep the Mavs toward the middle of the West, he could walk away with this MVP.

Stay tuned for my weekly MVP Ladder every Monday morning!


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