MVP Race: Kevin Durant overtakes Nikola Jokic at No. 2

MVP Race: Kevin Durant overtakes Nikola Jokic at No. 2

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MVP Race: Kevin Durant overtakes Nikola Jokic at No. 2

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Another week in the NBA world down, another edition of our weekly NBA MVP Race series.

There hasn’t been a change at No. 1 in a couple of weeks, but there has been movement just behind that spot.

1
Stephen Curry (Golden State)

2021-22 stats: 28.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.6 apg, 1.7 spg, 41.1 3PT%

MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry had an interesting week, one that began with back-to-back outrageous performances, first dropping 37 points and nine threes against the Brooklyn Nets before following that up with a 40-point outburst against the Cleveland Cavaliers, both in lopsided wins for the Golden State Warriors. That was followed by Curry getting his first night off of the season against the Detroit Pistons and then returning quietly against the Toronto Raptors over the weekend in a 12-point, 2-of-10 shooting performance, albeit in a 15-point win for Golden State. Either way, Curry did enough over the last seven days to maintain his spot at the top of our 2021-22 MVP rankings

For the latest Stephen Curry rumors, click here.

2
Kevin Durant (Brooklyn)

2021-22 stats: 28.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.9 3PTM, 55.8 FG%

The one major change to our rankings from last week to this week was here, with Kevin Durant overtaking Nikola Jokic for the No. 2 spot behind Curry. That has more to do with Jokic missing two games last week due to injury than anything Durant did, however, as KD also got one night off last week and wasn’t all that spectacular in his other two showings, at least not by his illustrious standards. Prior to sitting out, Durant had a 23-point, four-rebound outing against Cleveland in a 10-point win for Brooklyn, returning after his absence with a 27-point, nine-assist performance, again in a win against the Cavs. Even so, that was enough for the former league MVP to creep closer to Curry for the No. 1 spot in our ongoing series.

For the latest Kevin Durant rumors, click here.

3
Nikola Jokic (Denver)

2021-22 stats: 26.4 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 6.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 59.3 FG%

Jokic was forced to sit out the Denver Nuggets’ last two contests due to a wrist injury, one that appeared to be causing some concern within the organization before the reigning league MVP was upgraded to questionable for the Nuggets’ most recent outing. Denver head coach Michael Malone said he doesn’t believe the injury will be a long-term issue, but also that he won’t put the Serbian superstar out there if he has to play with one hand. As fans of the sport and appreciators of Jokic’s greatness, here’s hoping the big magician isn’t forced to miss much more time, as he remains a clear frontrunner for MVP honors again this season with his outrageous level of play.

For the latest Nikola Jokic rumors, click here.

4
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)

2021-22 stats: 26.9 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.9 bpg, 50.0 FG%

Although weak competition didn’t hurt matters much (one game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and a back-to-back against the Orlando Magic), Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 4-0 stretch over the past week, one in which he’s performed up to his usual standards, averaging a 28.0/14./6.0 stat line to go with 1.5 nightly steals and 2.5 blocks per outing. The Bucks have looked more like the contenders they were meant to be this season as they’ve gotten healthier, but Antetokounmpo has done a fantastic job carrying the team through their early-season woes, too.

For the latest Giannis Antetokounmpo rumors, click here.

5
Jimmy Butler (Miami)

2021-22 stats: 25.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.1 spg, 53.8 FG%

After missing three games due to an injured ankle, Jimmy Butler returned with a vengeance this week, averaging 30.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting over 57.0 percent from the floor over his last three contests, a stretch in which the Miami Heat went 2-1. Butler has Miami looking very dangerous this season, as the Heat sit third in net rating (+7.4) in 2021-22, largely thanks to the 32-year-old’s outstanding two-way nightly impact.

For the latest Jimmy Butler rumors, click here.

6
DeMar DeRozan (Chicago)

2021-22 stats: 26.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 49.0 FG%

It was an up-and-down week for DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls, one headlined by splitting their four contests 2-2, as well as by DeRozan shooting poorly before bouncing back recently. DeRozan started off that four-game stretch with back-to-back porous shooting performances, going 14-for-40 in that stretch (35.0 percent) before hitting half of his 36 shot attempts in his latest two outings. Overall, DeRozan has maintained his career-best pace this season and has been a hugely positive player during his time on the floor for Chicago.

For the latest DeMar DeRozan rumors, click here.

7
Chris Paul (Phoenix)

2021-22 stats: 13.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 10.3 apg, 2.2 spg, 47.0 FG%

The Phoenix Suns have now ripped off 13 wins in a row after starting 2021-22 with a 1-3 record, and that run of excellence has been in no small part thanks to Chris Paul’s spectacular play at lead guard. Paul remains the league leader in nightly assists (10.3) this week and has shown little sign of slowing down in his age-36 campaign. Paul’s best performance last week came on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks when the future Hall-of-Famer went off for 18 points, 14 assists and three steals in an eight-point win for the Suns.

For the latest Chris Paul rumors, click here.

8
Ja Morant (Memphis)

2021-22 stats: 25.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 47.9 FG%

Another point guard posting a fantastic campaign, although in a very different style than Paul’s, is Memphis Grizzlies floor general Ja Morant. The third-year player is coming off an excellent showing, helping lead Memphis to a one-point road victory against the Utah Jazz thanks to his 32 points and seven assists, the last of which was the game-sealing helper to Jaren Jackson Jr.

For the latest Ja Morant rumors, click here.

9
Trae Young (Atlanta)

2021-22 stats: 25.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 9.0 apg, 2.6 3PTM, 44.2 FG%

Trae Young’s first appearance on our rankings of the season, the 23-year-old made it onto our list behind a five-game stretch where he’s looked more like his 2020-21 self, averaging 26.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.0 steals in that span and guiding the Atlanta Hawks to a 5-0 record over that span. It was only a matter of time before Young and Co. got back on track in this campaign, and that appears to be what’s happening right now.

For the latest Trae Young rumors, click here.

10
Zach LaVine (Chicago)

2021-22 stats: 25.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 38.9 3PT%

Zach LaVine saw his stock on these rankings take a dip this week due to back-to-back dud performances, first, a 21-point showing on 7-for-20 shooting (six-point win for the Bulls over the New York Knicks), followed by a 17-point outing on 7-of-18 shooting (a shocking 32-point loss for the Bulls against the struggling Indiana Pacers). LaVine will look to get things back on track tomorrow against the lowly Houston Rockets,

For the latest Zach LaVine rumors, click here.

11
Paul George (LA Clippers)

2021-22 stats: 26.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 44.1 FG%

After a torrid stretch, Paul George’s shooting has taken a major dip recently, as the seven-time All-Star has hit just 39.0 percent of his field-goal attempts over his last five games. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the Los Angeles Clippers are 2-3 in that stretch, as George maintaining a borderline-MVP-level will be crucial for the team’s chances of contending in the West. Still, George has been one of the best two-way players in basketball this season, and his recent poor run shouldn’t be held against him too harshly.

For the latest Paul George rumors, click here.

12
Rudy Gobert (Utah)

2021-22 stats: 15.7 ppg, 14.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 73.3 FG%

The league leader in nightly rebounds and in field-goal percentage, Rudy Gobert has maintained his status as the most important player on the contending Utah Jazz. Both he and the ball club as a whole will need to prove it in the playoffs this year to be taken seriously, but that shouldn’t discount what Gobert and Co. have done this year, bouncing back after a disappointing playoff exit to have the league’s second-best net rating this season (+9.2).

For the latest Rudy Gobert rumors, click here.

13
Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)

2021-22 stats: 24.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.3 bpg, 52.2 FG%

Anthony Davis has stepped it up in a big way recently, averaging 30.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 4.0 blocks over his last two appearances, a two-game stretch that the Los Angeles Lakers split, first getting blown out by the Boston Celtics before securing a five-point win against the Detroit Pistons. Davis has looked more and more like his vintage self this campaign with Los Angeles, a welcome sight for Lakers fans that could lead to big things in the playoffs.

For the latest Anthony Davis rumors, click here.

14
James Harden (Brooklyn)

2021-22 stats: 20.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 9.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 42.0 FG%

The time for worrying about James Harden is over (not that anyone sensible was truly worried about him to begin with), as the bearded 2-guard has been spectacular lately, putting up a 25.3/7.5/8.3 stat line over his last four games while shooting 11.8 nightly free throws and hitting 95.7 percent of them. The Nets went 3-1 in that span, albeit against just mediocre competition. Even so, for Nets fans, it has to be great to see Harden producing at his usual elite level again after a slow start to the campaign.

For the latest James Harden rumors, click here.

15
Donovan Mitchell (Utah)

2021-22 stats: 24.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.9 spg, 43.1 FG%

A quiet week for Donovan Mitchell was capped last night with an ugly 18-point outing which required 5-of-20 shooting by the young 2-guard, one that saw him post a minus-11 plus/minus on the evening. In all, it’s been a pretty mediocre campaign for Mitchell, at least based on the expectation that he’d take a big leap in his fourth season. It could still happen, but for now, it looks like Mitchell is the same player as before.

For the latest Donovan Mitchell rumors, click here.

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