LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard top Nick Wright's 'NBA MVP Ladder'
It's a long climb to the top of the NBA's pecking order.
Only one NBA star wins the distinction of being league MVP each year, but there are always plenty of deserving candidates.
More than 40 games into the 72-game 2020-21 season, which players have a leg up on the competition? Nick Wright broke it down on Wednesday's episode of "First Things First," using his "MVP Ladder" as a grading system.
However, Wright included a major caveat: "These are not projected finishes. This is if the season froze today, where we are with the 'MVP Ladder.'"
Here's what Wright had to say, along with each player's current MVP odds, courtesy of FOX Bet, as of Wednesday morning.
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Season stats: 25.9 PPG, 4.9 APG, 6.3 RPG | Team record: 28-16 (third in West)
MVP odds: +5000
Wright's thoughts: "Good stats, good team, but let's be honest: It's been disappointing, and he knows it."
Season stats: 29.0 PPG, 9.2 APG, 8.4 RPG | Team record: 22-19 (eighth in West)
MVP odds: +1300
Wright's thoughts: "Surging! ... 41% from 3, averaging 30 [points], nine [assists] and nine [rebounds] since Feb. 1 for a Mavs team that all of a sudden looks like itself."
Season stats: 25.3 PPG, 11.2 APG, 7.9 RPG | Team record: 30-14 (second in East)
MVP odds: +900
Wright's thoughts: "Leading the NBA in assists, he has been spectacular for the Brooklyn Nets. What hurts him, of course, is that he's played for two teams this year, and one of those two teams he napalmed on the way out."
Season stats: 29.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 6.4 APG | Team record: 28-14 (third in East)
MVP odds: +750
Wright's thoughts: "The defensive numbers aren't as good, the team's record isn't as good, and it's going to be very hard to win three straight MVPs."
Season stats: 15.7 PPG, 8.8 APG, 4.7 RPG | Team record: 29-13 (second in West)
MVP odds: +30000
Wright's thoughts: "His team is excellent, but his counting stats are so pedestrian compared to everyone else [that] he could fall out of the top five. But I really do think that his value is unquestionably top-five."
Season stats: 29.9 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.4 BLK | Team record: 31-13 (first in East)
MVP odds: +600
Wright's thoughts: "At this point, the games missed has really started to hurt him. He's played 31 ... most of the guys have played 40 or more than 40."
Season stats: 30.1 PPG, 7.7 APG, 4.4 RPG | Team record: 25-18 (sixth in West)
MVP odds: +1500
Wright's thoughts: "CJ McCollum has missed 25 games, and Damian Lillard has the Blazers positioned to potentially move into the top four in the West."
Season stats: 27.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.6 APG | Team record: 26-17 (fifth in West)
MVP odds: -105
Wright's thoughts: "There's a reason he's the Vegas favorite. ... His numbers this year are out of this world."
Season stats: 25.4 PPG, 7.9 APG, 7.9 RPG | Team record: 28-16 (third in West)
MVP odds: +500
Wright's thoughts: "LeBron's going to fall precipitously down this if we do it in two weeks and he's missed a handful more games, but up to this point, he's only missed three games on the season."
Check out Wright's full breakdown of his "MVP Ladder" below:
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