Aadi Saharan

Staff Writer

With the recent end to the 2020-2021 NBA regular season, the discussion regarding the ultimate winner of the league’s MVP is heating up! This season, players such as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Stephen Curry excited many with their impressive stat lines, phenomenal leadership, and unforgettable performances. To recognize these players, the league gives out the prestigious MVP award to the individual who possesses all these qualities and is willing to go above and beyond.

Honorable Mentions: Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant 

Source: NBA/ESPN

5. Luka Doncic, Guard, Mavericks

Since his NBA debut in 2018, Luca Doncic has established himself as one of the faces of the NBA. At just 22 years old, Doncic didn’t disappoint, putting up 27.7 points, 8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists while leading the Mavericks to a 42-30 record, and the fifth seed in the West. His skill set is one of the most elite in the NBA, and has led him to yet another MVP caliber year.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Forward, Bucks

Since arriving in the NBA in 2013, Antetokounmpo has only gotten better: With his 2 MVP awards, 5 All-Star game appearances, and leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the playoffs five years in a row, Antetokounmpo is arguably one of the best players from the 2010’s decade. This season, Antetokounmpo played at a superstar level. Despite facing injuries that prevented him from playing all 72 games of this season, Antetokounmpo still put up 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists while leading the Bucks to a sufficient 46-26 record.

3. Stephen Curry, Guard, Warriors

After watching this season, it’s evident that Stephen Curry is one of the most influential players in the NBA. After losing the superstar to injury for most of last season, the Golden State Warriors ended with an embarrassing 12-50 record. With Curry back this season, the former MVP put up historic numbers. In the final 24 games of the season, Curry averaged  36.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5 assists to ultimately lead the Golden State Warriors into the play-in tournament. 

2. Joel Embiid, Center, 76ers

Since his first game in 2016, Joel Embiid has consistently been one of the league’s top players. At just 27 years old, Embiid has averaged 24.3 points per game, has already appeared in 4 all-star games, and has consistently led the 76ers into the playoffs. This season, the superstar player has solidified himself as arguably the best center in the league. In new head coach Doc Rivers coaching system, Embiid has flourished, averaging 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks while being a fundamental piece to a 76ers team that has the best record in the Eastern Conference. 

1. Nikola Jokic, Center, Nuggets

Nikola Jokic will be the 2021 NBA MVP. After surprising everyone by making it to the Western Conference Finals, the Denver Nuggets were seen as contenders for this year’s NBA title. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, halfway through the season, starting shooting guard Jamal Murray tore his ACL and had to miss the remainder of the season. To combat this monumental loss, Nikola Jokic played the best season of his career. At just 26 years old, Jokic has established himself as arguably the most versatile big in the league, averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists while carrying the Denver Nuggets to the 3rd best record in the Western Conference. 

Update: Like every NBA season, the league’s fans will form different opinions on who should win the MVP. Ultimately, the NBA made the right choice awarding Jokic the MVP. While there were many players who were worthy of this award, the stats, leadership, and improvement from Jokic have been unmatched. 

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