For 75 years, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has been producing some of the best athletes we’ve ever seen. Some have made a huge impact to the sport, while some go the distance by revolutionizing the game itself. Through the years, there’s only been one way to recognize who the best is among the rest. That, is by awarding an outstanding and phenomenal player the Most Valuable Player award. The NBA MVP award has been around since the 1955-1956 season to be given to the best performing player in the regular season.

We’ve seen Kareem Abdul-Jabbar bring home six MVPs, Michael Jordan securing five of them, and LeBron James winning four. The most recent MVP is the Serbian big man, Nikola Jokic. He won it the year before which makes him a back-to-back MVP. Now that the 2022-2023 season is coming, let’s dive head on to the top 10 MVP candidates for next season.

TOP 10 MVP Candidates Next Season (2022-2023)

10. LeBron James

Believe it or not, LeBron is still one of the best players today. Don’t believe us? Just compare his averages between last season and his MVP season in 2010. Last season, he averaged 30.3 points, 6.2 assists, and 8.2 rebounds per game. On the other hand, more than 10 years ago, during the 2009-2010 season, LBJ averaged 27.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 7.9 rebounds a night. In hindsight, you would think his numbers last season are already MVP-worthy, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. James didn’t even make it to the top 5.

Photo Courtesy of NBA

Despite all that, LBJ is still playing at an elite level at 37 years old. He could easily take over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list next season. He may not be one of your top five picks, but you have to admit he is still a guy to beat for the MVP every year.


9. Kawhi Leonard

This is going to trigger a lot of NBA fans, but we’ll do it anyway. If Kawhi gets cleared to play in the 2022-2023 season, there’s no doubt he could be an MVP candidate again. He almost won it back in () and has always been in talks for MVP. Just so you know, Kawhi has added a lot of accolades to his bag, but we are yet to see Kawhi get his huge hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy. Some of his greatest achievements in the NBA are as follows:

  • 2x NBA Champion
  • 2x NBA Finals MVP
  • 5x All-Star
  • 3x All-NBA Teams selections
  • 7x All-Defensive Teams selections
  • 2x Defensive Player of the Year
Kawhi Leonard, Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The problem Kawhi Leonard needs to battle is his susceptibility to injuries. He could be an MVP at any point of his career, but his availability keeps on blocking his chances to win the award. Moreover, he made load management a common thing, which decreases his MVP odds every single time.


8. Kevin Durant

Lovw him oe hate him, bht Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was an unstoppable force last season. If not for his recurring injuries, he could have won multiple MVP awards. However, his legacy is constantly getting tarnished due to his “unacceptable” choices.

Photo Courtesy of dailysabah.com

Joining a superteam in 2016 created a whole new narrative for KD’s greatness. Now, he’s back at it again after requesting a trade from the Nets. Don’t take us wrong, even with a questionable predicament, KD is already a top 15 player of all time. He also could very well be leading the MVP ladder next season if he stays healthy and if he puts his everything into his craft. But, with the recent controversies, where do you think KD would suit up next season?


7. Steph Curry

The only unanimous MVP in NBA history solidified his Hall-of-Fame career after winning his first-ever Finals MVP award. At the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, Steph Curry showed glimpses of his former self, climbing the ladder for MVP along the way. But, due to injuries, he drastically fell in the rankings.

Photo Courtesy of sportingnews.com

At 34 years old, Curry has proved he can still be the cornerstone of a franchise. Although he is at the back end of his prime, Curry is still a favorite to win MVP. Plus, he is fully healthy and is looking to win another chip this year.


6. Ja Morant

The youngest on this list is no other than the Grizzlies’ star point guard, Ja Morant. A very athletic and skilled player, Morant finished top 7 in last year’s MVP voting, falling behind Jayson Tatum.

Failed Posterized Dunk by Morant on Kevin Love, Photo Courtesy of commercialappeal.com

He may come super cocky to some but we cannot deny the fact that he could be the future of Memphis. And, every year since getting drafted, he has evolved into a fine basketball superstar.

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5. Luka Doncic

“If you don’t like him, you don’t like NBA basketball”

Luka Doncic, photo courtesy of skyports.com

Luka Magic is easily a top 5 frontrunner for the MVP for various reasons. He may not be the most athletic guard in the NBA, but he makes every defender pay for his shifty moves and high-IQ basketball. Since his rookie season, Luka’s name has always been in the talks to become the future face of the NBA. The Slovenian hotshot is just 23 years old but he seems to have hit his prime early on in his career. With his exemplary talent and skills, there’s no doubt he would go on to win multiple MVPs in the future, just like a fellow Balkan, Nikola Jokic.


4. Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum is arguably one of the best young athletes of today. He may have failed to show up on the big stage (i.e. the NBA Finals), but his innate ability is very generational and one of a kind.

Jayson Tatum, Photo Courtesy of slamonline.com

As a known mentee of the late great Kobe Bryant, Tatum has learned the ropes from the very best to ever do it. He moves just as how Bryant did on the court. We all know Kobe won at least one MVP award, so we think Tatum could replicate that same accolade.

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3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Thank the Greek Gods for giving us the Greek Freak! Giannis Antetokounmpo almost garnered his third MVP last season but the closest he got was third place, just behind Joel Embiid and the eventual MVP, Nikola Jokic.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, photo courtesy of sportingnews.com

After Shaquille O’Neal, Giannis might be the most dominant player in the paint. What’s impressive about Giannis is his hard work and dedication to his draft. His work ethic is second to none, just as what he learned from Kobe Bryant. To add, he has already won two back-to-back MVPs (2019, and 2020) even though he is still 27 years old.


2. Joel Embiid

The Philadelphia 76ers superstar big man almost won the MVP last season, but he lost it to the Serbian center, Nikola Jokic. It could have gotten him past the horizon, but Jokic was arguably the better overall player at that time.

Joel Embiid, photo courtesy of usatoday.com

However, JoJo took home the 2021-2022 Scoring Champion award, but his fans were furious as to why he did not win MVP. Adding insult to injury is him not getting picked for the All-NBA 1st team. In all fairness, the forward and center spot was already filled by two former big men, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the MVP himself, Nikola Jokic. Embiid is equally as deserving as the two stars mentioned, but retains his composure and replicates his play for this year, there’s a great chance he’d be the MVP next season.

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1. Nikola Jokic

Non-Americans seem to be taking over the league as we know it. After Antetokounmpo and Jokic won the MVP, we are looking at the future years that could give the same result. There are also other foreigners like Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic peeking in the window.

Photo Courtesy of NBA

The reigning MVP, Nikol Jokic, is the perfect embodiment of a perfect team player. Heck, he is the equivalent of a real “valuable player” on the team. He has to lead the Denver Nuggets in almost all categories (points, rebounds, blocks, assists), so it wouldn’t be unlikely to see him win another MVP for a three-peat.


HONORABLE MENTION

Devin Booker

DBook is a very talented player, we’ll give you that. Because of his basketball prowess, he is already set to become the centerpiece of the Phoenix Suns going forward.

On the flip side, Booker failed to show up last playoffs. In their matchup against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, Booker was out of sync. Who would have thought the no.1 team in the West and dubbed as the best team in the NBA today would choke in the series against Dallas? Yeah, they really did. Despite his shortcomings in the postseason, Devin Booker still has the bragging rights to be named an MVP candidate in the future. Fun fact, he once scored 70 points in the regular season, the third most in league history.

Zach Lavine and Devin Booker, photo courtesy of heavy.com

Aside from Devin Booker, there are a lot of young guys flirting with the MVP award. Some of whom are the likes of Zach Lavine, Trae Young, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, Zion Williamson, and many more


Would you like to see Nikola Jokic win the MVP three times in a row? Or would you love to see Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum finally bring it home? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

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