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NBA MVP rankings: Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic own advanced metrics, but the LeBron James narrative is strong

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These shooting numbers might well regress, but until they do, or until the Sixers fall at least out of the top spot in the East, Embiid holds a slight edge in my book to win his first MVP.

2. LeBron James

If the Los Angeles Lakers finish with the No. 1 seed in the West, and LeBron James continues to play at the level he has without missing many games, I think it’s going to be almost impossible for anyone to ultimately top him for MVP. Voter remorse is a real thing.

That said, if the Lakers don’t finish with the top seed and the “Best player on the best team” argument loses technical standing, the door for someone else to win MVP opens up because LeBron’s numbers do not blow you away. The Jazz are 9.7 points per 100 possessions better when Gobert is on the floor, and yet, does Gobert feel like an MVP? For most people, the answer to that question is no. There is no precedent for a player switching teams mid-season and winning the MVP, and the fact that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been just as great makes it nearly impossible to designate one as the most valuable player on the team, let alone in the league.

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