Skip to main content

NBA MVP race 2023-24: Jokic, SGA, or Doncic?

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We know who won the 2023 NBA MVP, but now we’re recapping this season’s candidates to win The Michael Jordan Trophy. After coming so close to winning the MVP award in seasons past, Joel Embiid finally won his first trophy a year ago. But since the Philadelphia 76ers superstar didn’t meet the 65 games played threshold, he’s no longer on track to become the 15th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVPs.

Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2024

Now that the regular season is over, here are our frontrunners to vie for The Michael Jordan Trophy, otherwise known as the MVP award, in 2024.

Related: Updated 2024 NBA Playoff and championship predictions

10. Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns (Last week: 10)

kevin durant
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kevin Durant stats: 27.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 5 APG, 52% FG, 41% 3PT, 1.2 BPG, 21.2 PER

Not only is Kevin Durant one of the most efficient scorers of our generation, he’s also extremely underrated on defense, averaging 2.1 ‘stocks’ per game. Leading a very good Phoenix Suns team in scoring, KD didn’t quite have the numbers to catch up to his fellow MVP candidates, and Devin Booker deserves consideration for this spot too.

Related: Top-selling NBA jerseys: See all 30 NBA teams’ best-selling jerseys today

9. Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks (LW: 9)

NBA: New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jalen Brunson stats: 28.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 47% FG, 40% 3PT, 23.4 PER

He may be in his sixth season, but Jalen Brunson became an All-Star for the first time in his career this year. The New York Knicks point guard has improved every year and now is one of the best scorers in the NBA. Brunson is shooting lights-out for a red-hot Knicks team that may be a legit championship contender for the first time in decades, he deserves to be mentioned in the MVP conversation.

Related: NBA schedule

8. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers (LW: 8)

anthony davis
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • Anthony Davis stats: 24.7 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.3 BPG, 55% FG, 27% 3PT, 25.8 PER

Durability has always been the biggest knock on ‘The Brow’s game, but he missed just six games this season. His numbers are outstanding, as usual, but it hasn’t led to more wins for the Lakers besides the In-Season Tournament. Davis’s overall body of work makes him a fringe MVP candidate, but he’s not a legit threat to win.

7. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves (LW: 7)

anthony edwards
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Anthony Edwards stats: 25.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 46% FG, 35% 3PT, 19.7 PER

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the best teams in the Western Conference. How could one of the NBA’s best not have an MVP candidate? While Rudy Gobert’s resurgence and the return of Karl-Anthony Towns (before his injury) have been huge, Anthony Edwards deserves a larger part of the credit for the Wolves’ success. As the team leader, Edwards merits a spot on any list of NBA MVP candidates, but can he become more consistent and avoid turnovers? That’s the only thing holding Edwards back.

Related: Timberwolves land nightmare matchup vs Suns

6. Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (LW: 6)

domantas sabonis
Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
  • Domantas Sabonis stats: 19.4 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 8.2 APG, 59% FG, 37% 3PT, 23.2 PER

When the Sacramento Kings opted to part with Tyrese Haliburton, they wound up getting an All-NBA big in return. While he may not be on Jokic’s level as a passer, Domantas Sabonis is the NBA’s leading rebounder for the second year in a row. Yet, he also shot 37% from 3-point range. Few players are as skilled as Sacramento’s smooth-shooting All-Star, and it’s no surprise to see Sabonis become an outside MVP candidate.

Related: Updated NBA power rankings

5. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (LW: 5)

jayson tatum
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jayson Tatum stats: 26.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1 SPG, 47% FG, 37% 3PT, 22.3 PER

Jayson Tatum is elite on both ends of the floor, yet he still hasn’t been able to permanently stamp his name into the MVP conversation. However, if Tatum can continue averaging nearly 30 points per game while providing excellent defense, there’s no reason he can’t add some hardware to his trophy case soon. Tatum had his most efficient season yet, but new roster additions also led to a slight reduction in shots taken for the two-way superstar. He won’t win the MVP this year.

Related: Highest-paid NBA players of 2024

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (LW: 4)

giannis antetokounmpo
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo stats: 30.4 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 61% FG, 29.9 PER

We’ve seen enormous growth from Giannis Antetokounmpo since he entered the league as the 15th overall pick in 2013. Sure, he’ll never be Steph Curry from a distance, and his shooting is certainly an area that could be improved, yet he can still score 64 points on a single night. After hitting just 64.5% of his shots from the free throw line last season, if Antetokounmpo could return to the 77% rate we saw in 2017, his MVP candidacy would receive a huge boost. While he’s now dealing with a calf injury, the Greek Freak ranked second in PPG, sixth in RPG, and helped the Bucks earn the third seed in the East.

Related: NBA Rookie of the Year 2023-24 race

3. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks (LW: 3)

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
  • Luka Dončić stats: 33.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 9.8 APG, 48% FG, 38% 3PT, 28.1 PER

We all know what Luka Dončić is capable of on a nightly basis. Against Utah, he needed just one half to tally a triple-double. Then, against Atlanta, Doncic scored 73 points. Jokic showed you could win MVPs without being a top defender, which should open the door for Doncic, too. Yet, he has a tough road ahead with dominant do-it-all talents like Jokic and SGA in front of him. Leading the NBA in scoring, Doncic has made this race very close, yet he takes a hit here for also leading the league in turnovers without playing elite defense.

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 2)

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stats: 30.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2 SPG, 53% FG, 29.3 PER

A season ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder were a fringe contender thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s development into an All-NBA talent. Now, he’s become one of basketball’s most efficient scoring threats, and the Thunder earned the top seed in the West. But it’s not just on offense. Gilgeous-Alexander’s a complete player who brings the intensity on defense too, leading the NBA in total steals. With SGA becoming a legit MVP candidate, the Thunder’s decision to trade Paul George continues to look better and better. But imagine if OKC can win a ring.

1. NBA MVP – Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets (LW: 1)

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • Nikola Jokić stats: 26.4 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 9 APG, 58% FG, 35% 3PT, 31 PER

No one puts up numbers like Nikola Jokic does. He may not be the league’s top scorer, but Jokic is an incredibly efficient player who somehow came close to averaging a triple-double last season and did so again in ’24. Of course, Jokic is a top 2024 NBA MVP candidate, ranking among league leaders in total rebounds. With Denver tying for the NBA’s second-best record, Jokic has earned another MVP award in our eyes.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: