One month into the NBA season, we’ve seen one of the league’s top players return from a serious injury better than ever, a center averaging a triple-double, and other stars elevate their games to a new level.
With that in mind, HoopsHype anonymously polled 15 media members who voted on last year’s awards for their current top five MVP rankings before games played on January 22.
As with the official vote, the top player received 10 points, the second received seven points, the third received five points, the fourth received three points, and the fifth player received one point for each ballot.
1. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn)
James Harden and Kyrie Irving, who’s back with the team following a two-week personal leave. Will there be enough opportunities for Durant to maintain his torrid pace with two other star players around him? It remains to be seen, but Durant is optimistic about the trio’s fit. “It felt right,” Durant said. “It felt perfect. It felt like we belong together. It felt like this journey together is going to be fun.”Durant ranks second in the league in scoring (31.2) and fourth in free throws made (91) and player efficiency rating (28.3), and fifth in win shares (2.2). After missing the past 18 months with an Achilles injury, Durant has remarkably outperformed his statistics from his 2013-14 MVP season. Durant is shooting better from the field overall (.534 to .503) and beyond the arc (.466 to .391). He’s also averaging more rebounds (7.5 to 7.4), assists (6.0 to 5.5), and blocks (1.3 to .7) per game. Looking ahead, Durant will be surrounded by
2. LeBron James (LA Lakers)
James has continued to win his battle against Father Time. After leading the league in assists last season, the 36-year-old star ranks first in field goals made (141), third in points (390), fourth in assists (121), and fifth in minutes played (521). He also ranks sixth in usage percentage (31.8) while leading the Lakers to the league’s best record (12-4), which includes an 8-0 road record. It marks the franchise’s longest road winning streak to start a season. Despite a shortened turnaround after a deep playoff run that culminated with winning the championship, James continues to make history. https://twitter.com/jkubatko/status/1352624811504111616
3. Nikola Jokic (Denver)
4. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia)
5. Paul George (LA Clippers)
come back with a “vengeance,” George is off to a blistering start shooting the ball from the field (.514), beyond the arc (.505), and the foul line (.910) this season. George also ranks seventh overall in true shooting percentage (.685). The six-time All-Star has become a better facilitator and is averaging a career-high 5.6 assists.After vowing to
6. Stephen Curry (Golden State)
7. Luka Doncic (Dallas)
8. Damian Lillard (Portland)
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)
10. Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers)
11. Jayson Tatum (Boston)
11. CJ McCollum (Portland)
11. Domantas Sabonis (Indiana)