Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

2021 PBT NBA Awards: MVP

Corey Robinson and PBT's Kurt Helin take a look at the frontrunners for the NBA's major awards and discuss why Nikola Jokic will win the MVP award over Joel Embiid and Steph Curry.

Kurt Helin

1. Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)

2. Stephen Curry (Warriors)

3. Joel Embiid (76ers)

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

5. Luka Doncic (Mavericks)

Nikola Jokic won this award not simply because he played in all 72 games this season, but because he had a historic offensive season averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists a game while doing it. He was the best offensive player in the league, was improved on defense, and was the heart of everything that worked for the No. 3 seed Nuggets.

Curry’s late scoring push, willing the Warriors into the play-in, earned him second in a season where he had to carry a heavy load. Embiid was the most dominant player in the NBA this season, he just missed too many games to be any higher on the ladder. Damian Lillard easily could have replaced Luka Doncic in the fifth spot, it was splitting hairs to go with Dallas’ Mr. Everything.

Dan Feldman

1. Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)

2. Stephen Curry (Warriors)

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

4. Rudy Gobert (Jazz)

5. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)

Nikola Jokic was arguably the NBA’s best player per minute on the court this season. But that argument didn’t need to be adjudicated, because the other players in the discussion – namely Joel Embiid – played far less than Jokic. I’m judging total contributions, and Embiid couldn’t come close to keeping up with Jokic while playing 21 fewer games.

Stephen Curry made a hard charge for this honor with his late scoring surge, but Jokic’s all-around contributions – passing, rebounding – give him the edge.

Taking a step back from his back-to-back MVP seasons, Giannis Antetokounmpo still excelled offensively and defensively. He was an easy third choice.

Fourth and fifth got tough. Because availability is so important to producing, Rudy Gobert and Damian Lillard edged better players Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard. Luka Doncic was another final cut.