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The Whiteboard: How will LeBron’s injury change the NBA MVP race?

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Who is the NBA MVP frontrunner with LeBron James out?

Giannis has won MVP the past two seasons and voters may be hesitant about moving him into a historic group with Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as the only players to win three consecutive MVPs, especially in a season where Giannis’ team has taken a step back in the standings.

Harden has been sensational for the Brooklyn Nets but how will voters weigh his eight lackluster games in Houston to start the season and the somewhat messy circumstances that brought him from the Rockets to the Nets?

Jokic and Lillard have been unstoppable, individually, but their teams are currently tied for fifth in the Western Conference. Over the past two decades, only two players have won MVP playing for a team that did not finish with one of the top two seeds in their conference. Adjusting for pandemic- and lockout-shortened seasons over the past two decades, the lowest percentage of a team’s games played by an MVP was 87 percent – Allen Iverson who played 71 of his team’s 82 games in 2000-01.

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