As the NBA prepares for the final matchup of its play-in tournament, the league has named this year's MVP finalists. This year, the list of finalists includes Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry.
With one of the best regular-season campaigns in recent memory, Jokic has emerged as the odds-on favorite. He has averaged nearly 27 points per game while shooting 56% from the field and 39% from beyond the three-point line. Adding to his resume, he's lead the Denver Nuggets to the fifth-best record in the NBA despite Jamal Murray suffering a season-ending injury last month.
Right behind Jokic, Joel Embiid has put together an incredible run this season. Despite missing 21 games this year, the former Kansas Jayhawk has had the best season of his young career. Averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, he has led the Philadelphia 76ers to their best record since Allen Iverson led them to the NBA Finals in 2001.
If Embiid or Jokic were to win the award, it would be the first time that a big man has won the award since Shaquille O'Neal did it in 2001. Furthermore, Embiid, born in Cameroon, would be the first African-born player to win MVP since Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1994.
Rounding out the trio of finalists, Steph Curry is gearing up to bring home the third MVP trophy of his hall of fame career. Despite losing Klay Thompson in the off-season, Curry has carried his team to the play-in tournament. Averaging 32 points, five rebounds and six assists per game, the former Davidson Wildcat is as good as he's ever been
In recent years, the NBA has announced the winner of the award during their end-of-year award show. However, it looks like the league will revert to its previous tradition of announcing the winner during the playoffs.
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