and what if it was (finally) Joel Embiid’s year?

As you know, Wednesday is synonymous with MVP on TrashTalk. With February just beginning, the race for the Michael Jordan Trophy will only get more intense. Some have used the last two weeks to send a few messages to prospective voters and get back into the rankings (hello Joel Embiid).

Statistics: 30.2 points / 8.5 rebounds / 7.1 assists / 1.0 steals / 50.5% shooting
Assessment: 24 wins – 28 losses

We don’t know if this will console LeBron James after his late-game episode in Boston, but the King, who is fast approaching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record, makes our Top 10 MVP. 4th passer of all time). Sure, his Lakers team continues to struggle to hit the right wagon in the Western Conference, but it’s impossible to ignore the King’s individual exploits when we know he has 38 sweeps. Night after night, LeBron pushes the limits of nature, and a stellar performance in Anthony Davis’ absence has kept Los Angeles from sinking. It remains to be seen whether the Lakers — with the return of AD and potential adjustments at the trade deadline — can make a fantastic comeback in a tight conference.


Statistics: 30.9 points / 4.8 rebounds / 5.7 assists / 1.7 steals / 1.1 against / 51.0% shooting
Assessment: 24 wins – 26 losses

If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t (unfairly?) earn a starting spot for the next All-Star Game, there’s no doubt he’ll be selected among the replacements by the coaches who still haven’t put their foot down. 2022-23 campaign. A monster regular, SGA has scored at least 30 points in a five-game streak, and thanks to him, the Thunder are currently paying some of the NBA’s heavyweights. The Nuggets (admittedly without Nikola Jokic) fell to Oklahoma City, then it was the Cavaliers (without Donovan Mitchell) who got pummeled by a group in the SGA. With the balance sheet almost in balance, the Thunder can continue to believe in the play-in tournament, and that’s a sentence we didn’t think we’d write at the beginning of the season.


Statistics: 29.7 points / 6.3 rebounds / 6.5 assists / 1.0 steals / 49.4% shooting (42.7% 3-pointers)
Assessment: 26 wins – 24 losses

Stephen Curry, who was knocked out of the MVP race during his three-week absence (between late December and early January), returned in the Top 10 at the same time as the Warriors climbed the Western Conference hierarchy. The defending champions, who have won four of their last five games, are currently fifth in the standings, and Curry’s return is no stranger to the Dubs’ good form: 34 points (on 49-45-96% shooting), 7 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal average, which are the Chiefs’ January statistics since the middle. Suffice it to say that he took a real MVP beat to boost his friends and in addition allowed him to break Wilt Chamberlain’s records. Excellent patient.


Statistics: 29.7 points / 6.7 rebounds / 5.3 assists / 1.5 blocks / 55.9% shooting
Assessment: 31 wins – 19 losses

Kevin Durant is still missing from the court after his injury in early January. So KD logically continues to slide down the standings, even if he’s certainly happy to see the Nets win a few games anyway. Brooklyn has won four of its last six games thanks to Kyrie Irving’s absence in the fourth quarter. A good dynamic that hopefully gives Durant a little more time for a good return before the All-Star Break in mid-February.


Statistics: 27.3 points / 5.7 rebounds / 8.2 assists / 1.0 steals / 46.5% shooting
Assessment: 32 wins – 18 losses

After a good rise in the first half of January, Ja Morant suffered a setback and thus missed the opportunity to integrate into the Top 5. A failure that bested the entire team as the Grizzlies strung at least five consecutive home losses. last two weeks. However, Memphis is tied for second in the West, continuing Ja’s triple-double. Two in a row over the last two games, five all season (only Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Domantas Sabonis have done better), in other words, the Grizz superstars are on the rise.


Statistics: 31.8 points / 12.2 rebounds / 5.2 assists / 53.6% shooting
Assessment: 34 wins – 17 losses

Freak is back! Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been in free fall recently due to injuries and Milwaukee’s poor results, has had a record since leaving the hospital on January 23: five games, five wins, 37 points – 14 rebounds – 4 assists average. 61% shooting (including 44% from 3!), peak with 50 units against the Pelicans, the title of the best player of the week in the East, in short, it was worth returning to the Top 5. of the MVP Contest. Under the impetus of the Greek monster, the Bucks finished second in the conference behind the Celtics and hope to continue the momentum after the Giannis-Jrue Holiday-Khris Middleton trio is reunited. However, attention must be paid to the health of Freak, who left yesterday’s match against the Hornets holding his leg after being badly taken on the counter…


Statistics: 33.4 points / 8.9 rebounds / 8.3 assists / 1.6 steals / 50.1% shooting
Assessment: 27 wins – 25 losses

The second half of January was not easy for Luke, who suffered an ankle injury amid the Mavericks’ losses. Adding to the disappointment of the Slovenian phenom, the pressure is on Dallas’ leaders to acquire a better supporting cast today than at the NBA Trade Deadline. He took that frustration out on the poor Pistons (and assistant coach Jerome Allen), who scored 53 points in Doncic’s first game back from injury. However, it will take more on a collective level for Luke to find the Race for MVP podium and truly compete with the guys in front of him.


Statistics: 31.1 points / 8.7 rebounds / 4.4 assists / 1.1 steals / 46.5% shooting
Assessment: 36 wins – 15 losses

After a great start to the year with Nikola Jokic’s Dolphins, Celtics, in mid-January, Jayson Tatum lost his spot at the same time as Boston lost games. Three in a row for the Greens before last weekend’s highly contested win against the Lakers will inevitably be a bit of a stain, even if JT continues to have the best collective record while on the grind every night. Obviously in scoring (four perfs with at least 30 points in the last five games), but also in other sectors of the game and especially in rebounding (averaging 13 in the last five games!), while some of his teammates have stood out. their absence (pivots Al Horford and Robert Williams III, but also Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart or Malcolm Brogdon). Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla will still have to be careful not to burn out Jason, who has logged over 43 minutes per game through two weeks and definitely sticks his tongue out a bit (41% shooting, over 5 turnovers per night). ..


Statistics: 33.6 points / 10.0 rebounds / 4.2 assists / 1.7 against / 1.1 steals / 53.4% ​​shooting
Assessment: 32 wins – 17 losses

Last Saturday, we were all waiting for the duel of the giants between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, and Joel KO won the battle with 47 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 18/31 shooting (4/). 7 3-pointers) and 7/10 on free throws. It’s called sending a message, especially to the fans who refuse to vote Jojo among the incumbents for the next All-Star Game. This absolutely exceptional performance not only celebrates spirits, but also symbolizes the great dynamic that Embiid and his Sixers find themselves in right now. Before losing to the Magic earlier this week, Philadelphia had won 12 of 14 games (one against Ben Simmons and Brooklyn), an impressive record that allowed Doc Rivers’ men to move into second place in the East (third behind Milwaukee today). If Joel continues to chain the boss’ mistakes while stringing up wins (watch out for the 12 already missed matches this season), he could have some serious competition with the man he dominated last weekend.


Statistics: 25.1 points / 11.1 rebounds / 10.0 assists / 1.4 steals / 63.1% shooting
Assessment: 35 wins – 16 losses

Nikola Jokic missed last Saturday’s duel with Joel Embiid, but took time to recover. 26 points, 18 rebounds, 15 assists yesterday against the Pelicans – allowing him to average a triple-double for the season (first all-time for an interior) – and Denver’s 35th win, second best in the NBA. Boston. It’s tough today to put anyone other than Jokic in the lead for the entire 2022-23 campaign, though the past two weeks have clearly served to tighten the race. In addition to Embiid’s performance on Jokic, the latter also missed three games in two weeks with a hamstring injury, and the Nuggets logically missed several games on the road. So watch out Nico, MVP is far from over.


Honorary titles: Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Damian Lillard (Blazers), De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis (Kings), Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson (Knicks), Jaylen Brown (Celtics), Lauri Markkanen (Jazz), Bam Adebayo (Hats), James Harden (Sixers), Kyrie Irving (Nets), Anthony Edwards (Wolves)

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