Kia MVP Ladder: Joel Embiid stays on top as finish line draws closer

By Sanjit Gupta

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Be cautious not to overanalyze the upcoming games that involve top contenders in the current Kia Race to the MVP Ladder, as doing so may lead to recency bias when evaluating their performances. Nikola Jokic,Giannis Antetokounmpo,barcelona vs real madrid,Luka Doncic,

Starting from Saturday in Denver and ending on Monday in the same location, we will witness the back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic face two of the top three contenders on NBA TV. However, it is important to refrain from making hasty conclusions based on a few games when evaluating the entire regular season for an award.

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Kia MVP Ladder

After his team’s victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, Nuggets coach Michael Malone shared some words of wisdom that we should all take note of.

In reference to the MVP conversation, Nuggets coach Michael Malone expressed his concern that this year has taken an unfortunate and unpleasant turn compared to the last two years. He noted that while there are numerous deserving candidates for the award, there is a trend in society to not promote one’s favorite player, but rather to criticize and tear down the other contenders. Malone considers this attitude to be ridiculous and goes against NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s message during the All-Star break that the league is in a great place and has fantastic players. Malone encourages everyone to celebrate the players and build them up, regardless of who ultimately wins the award.

Despite Joel Embiid’s recent calf tweak, coach Doc Rivers anticipates that he will be able to play on Friday when the Philadelphia 76ers face the Golden State Warriors on the road at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, which will be broadcasted on NBA TV. Kia MVP Ladder,Kia MVP Ladder,

Rivers stated that they have made it to the playoffs for two consecutive years despite injuries, but it is crucial to have key players healthy to win in the playoffs.

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Joel Embiid initially sustained his calf injury during Monday’s double-overtime defeat to the Chicago Bulls. He then experienced what has been described as “mild” discomfort in the same area during the first half of Wednesday’s win over the Bulls.

Embiid stated that their primary goal is to reach the playoffs in good health.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks, who are relatively healthy, have similar aspirations to make the playoffs but seem to have a slightly different objective as they aim for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining.

Antetokounmpo expressed that although health is crucial, if given a choice between being the No. 1 seed or having good health, he would choose health any day. However, the Milwaukee Bucks are currently in a good position to aim for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which would provide them with a significant advantage during the playoffs. Antetokounmpo also mentioned that he has never played a Game 7 at home, so having the best record in the NBA and homecourt advantage against every team would be a valuable asset.

According to Antetokounmpo, the top priority is for the team to remain healthy. The second priority is to aim for the best record in the league. He mentioned that he has never believed in the significance of seeding during his career, but as the Milwaukee Bucks are currently the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, they should aim to maintain that position. Antetokounmpo believes that if they continue to build good habits and maintain their position, it may benefit them during their playoff run.

Antetokounmpo will face a challenge on Saturday at Ball Arena where Jokic and the Nuggets will be waiting for them. Two days later, Embiid and the Sixers will be hosted by the Nuggets. Denver is currently among the three teams in the NBA with 30 or more home victories, highlighting their strong performance on their home court.

The next anticipated matchup between Embiid and Antetokounmpo is scheduled for April 2 at Fiserv Forum. This game will be available on NBA League Pass and is highly anticipated by fans and analysts alike.

Currently, Embiid and Jokic are at the top of the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. Following them are Antetokounmpo, Tatum, and Doncic, with Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis quickly gaining ground and approaching the top five.

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It remains to be seen if Embiid will take a cautious approach to the final 10 games of the season after his recent calf injury. While team goals are important, falling behind in the MVP race would be unwise for Embiid. However, if Jokic and the Nuggets maintain their position at the top of the Western Conference standings, Embiid may slip behind in the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. Despite his injury, Embiid’s impressive production with 31 points or more in 10 of the last 11 games, including nine victories, cannot be ignored. Additionally, he has set a franchise record of 10 consecutive games with at least 30 points. Even in limited action on Wednesday against Chicago, Embiid played brilliantly with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting, seven rebounds, seven assists, one block, and one steal in just 16 minutes.

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2. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Denver appears to have shaken off its late-season struggles, winning two games in a row to end its five-game road trip with a 3-2 record. Jokic played a key role in their victory over the Washington Wizards, scoring 31 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. With Jokic in the lineup since the 2016-17 season, the Nuggets have never lost more than five games in a row. While they are currently 3.5 games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the top spot in the Western Conference, Denver faces a couple of tough matchups in the near future, including home games against Milwaukee (March 25), Philadelphia (March 27), and New Orleans (March 30). Four of their last six games will be on the road before they wrap up the regular season at home against Sacramento on April 9.Nikola Jokic,Nikola Jokic,Nikola Jokic,

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Nikola Jokic

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

On Wednesday, Antetokounmpo continued his impressive run with another 30-point and 10-rebound game, bringing his total to 29 such games this season, the most in the NBA. He also has 29 games with over 30 points and 10 rebounds, which is the second-most he’s achieved in a season, with 34 in 2019-20. Additionally, he’s averaging a career-high in scoring and is tied for second in the league in rebounds. The Bucks have already secured a playoff spot for the seventh consecutive season, which is the second-longest active streak in the NBA and franchise history. They will face the Utah Jazz on Friday. Giannis Antetokounmpo,Giannis Antetokounmpo,Giannis Antetokounmpo,Giannis Antetokounmpo,

Giannis Antetokounmpo

4. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Boston started off the month of March with a rough patch, losing three out of their first four games. However, they have since won five of their last seven games. During this stretch, Tatum has only shot better than 50% from the field once in his last six games. Despite this, Tatum did have a 36-point game against the Kings on Tuesday, helping the Celtics end Sacramento’s seven-game streak of scoring 122 or more points. With 9,684 career points, Tatum currently ranks 15th on Boston’s all-time scoring list. He leads the league with a total of 2,044 points this season. Interestingly, only four Celtics players have ever had multiple seasons with over 2,000 points: Paul Pierce, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, and vs real madrid,barcelona vs real madrid,barcelona vs real madrid,barcelona vs real madrid,

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5. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Doncic came back to the court on Wednesday after missing five games due to a left thigh strain. Despite his impressive performance of scoring 30 points and delivering 17 assists in a game against the Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks suffered a tough loss that reportedly prompted Mavericks governor Mark Cuban to consider protesting. The Mavericks, who surprisingly made it to the 2022 Western Conference finals, are currently in ninth place and facing fierce competition for a spot in the Play-In Tournament. Doncic expressed disappointment with the team’s recent performance, stating that every loss is tough and the team needs to stay focused on winning. With six losses in their last 10 games, the Mavericks are facing a challenging five-game road trip after Friday’s home game against Charlotte at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass. Luka Doncic,Luka Doncic,Luka Doncic,Luka Doncic,

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The Next Five:

  1. Sacramento Kings’ Domantas Sabonis maintains his position at No. 6 in the rankings from last week.
  2. New York Knicks’ Julius Randle also remains steady at No. 7 from the previous week’s rankings.
  3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Oklahoma City Thunder holds onto the No. 8 spot from last week’s rankings.
  4. James Harden, now playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, remains at No. 9 from the previous week.
  5. Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers enters the rankings this week, securing the No. 10 spot.

Here are five additional players (listed alphabetically): Jimmy Butler from the Miami Heat, Anthony Davis from the Los Angeles Lakers, De’Aaron Fox from the Sacramento Kings, Lauri Markkanen from the Utah Jazz, and Ja Morant from the Memphis Grizzlies.

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