The 2022-23 season was one that Milwaukee Bucks fans will want to soon forget. The Bucks will have to deal with sitting on their couch while watching their most fierce rival over the past few years, the Boston Celtics, or the team that sent them packing in the first round in the Miami Heat, head to the NBA Finals to face off against two-time NBA MVP, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Following the Bucks’ first-round exit, followed by the dismissal of Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, as well as impending free agency for starting lineup mainstays Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. could be in for a bit of a shift in 2023-24 and beyond. However, one thing that’s sure to be the same is the ‘Greek Freak’ will be right in the mix when it comes to hoisting some hardware following next season.
Without further ado, let’s get into the top 5 favorites to win the 2023-24 NBA Most Valuable Player award, and where Giannis ranks amongst the best of the best.
5. Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics
2022-23 stats – 30.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 46% FG, 35% 3PT
Perhaps on the same trajectory as this year’s winner, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum could finally break through after two consecutive seasons finishing inside of the top five in MVP voting. By many accounts, the biggest reason for Embiid and co.’s departure from this year’s playoffs, Tatum could now be knocking on the door of surpassing Embiid on the MVP ladder in 2023-24.
4. Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
2022-23 stats – 33.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 54% FG, 1.7 BPG
After two years of coming up just short of the honors, Joel Embiid finally broke through and ended the two-year reign of Nikola Jokic to secure the 2022-23 NBA MVP award. Embiid dominated from wire-to-wire during this past regular season, which culminated in an emotional ceremony before the team’s game 3 showdown with the Boston Celtics in the pair’s eastern conference second round matchup. Unfortunately for Embiid, the Sixers’ embarrassing game six and seven losses at the hands of the very same Celtics will cloud what was an absolutely dominant season for the former Kansas Jayhawk product. A reason for Embiid’s possible back-to-back campaign would be the heavily rumored departure of James Harden, which could open up some even more room for Embiid to pad the stat sheet during next season.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
2022-23 stats – 31.1 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 5.7 APG, 55% FG, 27% 3PT
With LeBron James contemplating retirement, the NBA very well may have their next face of the league in the form of former league MVP and NBA Champion, Giannis Antetokounmpo. By many’s opinion, Giannis will be heading into his 3rd or 4th season as the league’s best player, the landscape in Milwaukee may look very different with key players Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez heading into free agency, plus a new coach on the sidelines following the firing of Mike Budenholzer, Giannis will be more focused than ever to put the organization on his back heading into a new era in Milwaukee.
2. Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
2022-23 stats – 24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 9.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 63% FG, 38% 3PT
The now-former MVP will be looking for his third Most Valuable Player nod in four seasons when the Denver Nuggets take the floor come this October. Jokic and co. are currently focused on preparing for either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and a potential championship and Finals MVP on the cusp for the ‘Joker’, he could be playing with house money heading into the 2023-24 season, which could be dangerous for the other 29 clubs.
1. Luka Doncic, G/F, Dallas Mavericks
2022-23 stats – 32.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 8.0 APG, 49% FG, 34% 3PT
A triple double machine, Luka Doncic is just waiting to secure what would be the first of perhaps many NBA MVP trophies. The Mavericks front office put all of their eggs into the Kyrie Irving basket this past season, but after struggles from Irving, coupled with Doncic being banged up for the balance of the stretch run, the Mavericks failed to even secure a play-in berth. With Irving’s impending free agency coupled with the Mavericks not having much money to begin with, Doncic could be in for quite the usage rate with the club’s lackluster roster.
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