National Basketball Association

Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Chis Paul top Nick Wright's 'NBA MVP Ladder'

May 6

The definition of MVP might vary, depending on who you ask.

Technically, MVP stands for most valuable player. But how does one determine value? Is it stats? Boosting team morale? Pushing their teammates?

With about 10 games remaining in the 72-game 2020-21 NBA season, Nick Wright discussed his definition on "First Things First," using his "MVP Ladder" as a grading system.

And his leader of the board might surprise you. Check out where NBA's best fall along with each player's current MVP odds, courtesy of FOX Bet, as of Wednesday morning.

8. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Season stats: 28.5 PPG, 8.1 APG, 8.9 RPG | Team record: 37-28 (fifth in West)

MVP odds: +4000

Wright's thoughts: "That team is drowning, dead without him – the victim of expectations. [He's averaging] 28 [points], 8 [rebounds] and 9 [assists] for the season and people think he's having a bad year. Luka comes at eight."

7. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Season stats: 25.0 PPG, 7.5 APG, 7.8 RPG | Team record: 37-28 (sixth in West)

MVP odds: +5000

Wright's thoughts: "What obviously kills him is the missed time. He was first or second when he got hurt. The team's record with him though is still exceptional. His numbers are still exceptional. But he falls to seventh, and if he misses more time, he could fall further even than this if we were to do this a week from now."

6. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers

Season stats: 25.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 5.1 RPG | Team record: 44-22 (third in West)

MVP odds: +15000

Wright's thoughts: "Kawhi's been great, but somehow Kawhi's going to miss 20 games this year. LeBron's played 43 games Kawhi's somehow only played 48; that's why Kawhi doesn't actually make the ballot."

5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Season stats: 31.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, 5.7 RPG | Team record: 33-33 (eighth in West)

MVP odds: +1800

Wright's thoughts: "The team is drawing dead on offense without him – just no shot at scoring without him. And he's played a bunch this year, but they are a .500 team, so I can't put him higher than fifth."

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Season stats: 28.5 PPG, 11.1 APG, 5.9 RPG | Team record: 41-24 (third in East)

MVP odds: +2000

Wright's thoughts: "If Giannis hadn't won the last two MVPs, we'd probably be looking slightly more fondly upon his performance this year, but even if he hadn't won the last two MVPs, I don't think he would have won it this year because the Bucks are currently the 3-seed and his numbers aren't quite as good as last year. But, he certainly should be on the ballot."

3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Season stats: 29.0 PPG, 10.8 APG, 3.0 RPG | Team record: 44-21 (first in East)

MVP odds: +500

Wright's thoughts: "They are going to be the No. 1 seed. He is a brilliant player on both ends of the court. His numbers are out of this world. He's second in the league in PER, but again, we talk about the games played. LeBron's played 43, Embiid's only played 46. But they are the No. 1 seed and he was playing so exceptionally before the injury, he can stay there."

2. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Season stats: 29.0 PPG, 10.8 APG, 3.0 RPG | Team record: 43-22 (fourth in West)

MVP odds: -1000

Wright's thoughts: "The Joker's been awesome. He has a 31+ PER. They are 9-2 since Jamal Murray went down. His passing as a big man is the best we have seen since Bill Walton. I am not taking away from Joker, but this is the league's most valuable player. It is not league leader in PER, it is not scoring champion, it is not best stats. It is all of that into a nice little tapestry – who adds the most value?"

1. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

Season stats: 16.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 8.9 RPG | Team record: 47-18 (first in West)

MVP odds: +8000

Wright's thoughts: "The Phoenix Suns last year were so bad that they went undefeated in the bubble and did not make the play-in. They were 26-39 before the bubble. They switched out Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre for Chris Paul and now they have the best record in the entire NBA. Chris Paul, his entire career, has affected winning. ... The Suns are trying to take the leap from non-playoff team to playoff team; they get him and they have the best record in the NBA. No one has added more value to their team this year. He will not win the MVP [but] he should be MVP this year."

Check out Wright's full breakdown of his "MVP Ladder" below:

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