Just over two months ago, the Celtics were the favorite to win the NBA Finals, Joe Mazzulla was the favorite to win Coach of the Year, and Jayson Tatum was the betting favorite to win the NBA MVP according to BetOnline.ag.
Now? Well the Celtics are still the favorite to win the Finals at +400 and Mazzulla is still the COTY favorite at +210 – but Tatum he’s fallen off of his perch at +300.
Current 2022 NBA MVP Odds
Nikola Jokic -140
Luka Doncic +400
Joel Embiid +750
Jayson Tatum +750
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1200
Ja Morant +2800
Kevin Durant +3500
Boston continues to hold onto the best record in the NBA at 35-14 – and Tatum is scoring points at a clip – but his costly turnovers at the end of games have led to the Celtics dropping two straight games this week.
On top of this, Denver’s Nikola Jokic is on an absolute tear. The 6’11” freak is the most versatile player in basketball and is averaging 25.1 points, 11 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game. The Nuggets have won 10 of their last 11 and Jokic is well on his way to his third consecutive MVP award.
If Tatum wants to catch Jokic in the race, he’ll also have to pass Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid. Though the Mavericks are just 25-24, Doncic leads the NBA in points (33.8) and is fourth in assists (8.6) – and he does both in incomprehensible ways. His highlight reel ability is what keeps him towards the top of this list.
As for Embiid – he’s second in the league in scoring at 33.6 PPG, 14th in rebounds per game at 9.8, and sixth in blocks with 1.7 per game. Philly has won 10 of their last 12 thanks to Embiid’s dominant play.
When trying to convince myself before the season that Tatum could win this award – I outlined his age, his non-scoring numbers, his improved supporting cast, and the fact that he’s the undisputed best player on his team as reasons why he could win his first MVP. These four factors still hold true. If Tatum can hit his usual second-half-of-the-season stride that he’s done throughout his entire career – then there’s still a chance he comes away with the MVP award.
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