Just a week ago, it seemed like the race for NBA MVP was between two people. Steph Curry has had a tremendous start to the season and his Warriors are back to being elite. Kevin Durant was leading the league in points per game while balancing all of the drama in Brooklyn. The oddsmakers had those two far above the rest of the pack when it came to the NBA MVP futures market.
Unfortunately, injury is one thing the market can't accurately predict. Durant will miss at least a month with a knee injury. His MVP odds have gone from +220 to 14-to-1. It's hard to make a realistic case to win MVP when you're set to miss such a large chunk of the season. As a result of Durant's injury, the market has opened up for those below Curry.
Steph Curry is still the favorite
Even prior to the news about Durant, Curry was the MVP favorite. He's averaging over 26 points, 6 assists and nearly 5 three-pointers made per game as Golden State has the second best record in the league. Klay Thompson is working his way back into form and should only help Curry and the Warriors.
However, Curry's odds have also dropped slightly over the last week. Curry has failed to eclipse 20 points in five of Golden State's last seven games. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact Golden State has played three lopsided games over the past week and Curry hasn't played over 30 minutes in the last three games. Curry is currently a +155 favorite to win NBA MVP.
Four players rise after Durant injury
As a result of Durant falling down the MVP leaderboard, some players must take his place and rise up the rankings. The following four players have pushed their way into MVP consideration:
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Fresh off an NBA championship, Giannis is having another great year for the Milwaukee Bucks. He's averaging 28.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. He ranks 3rd in points, 6th in rebounds and 20th in assists.
Prior to Durant's injury, Antetokounmpo was +750 to win MVP. Those odds have been sliced in half in the past week as "the Greek Freak" currently sits at +325 to take home the award. Antetokounmpo already has two MVPs and a finals MVP on his resume.
Nikola Jokic: Nikola Jokic is one of the game's superstars that might not get enough recognition from fans and the media. The reigning MVP has already registered nine triple-doubles this season, which ties him with Russell Westbrook for the league lead. He's averaging 25.3 points, 13.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, a top-10 mark in all three categories. Jokic's Nuggets have been inconsistent, but they still sit in a playoff spot in the West.
Jokic's odds also went up significantly following the Durant injury. He sat at +1400 to win the award last week, but now Jokic is just +650 to repeat as NBA MVP.
Embiid's 76ers have won nine of their last 11 games in order to propel themselves into a solid spot in the Eastern Conference. Embiid has at least 30 points in 10 of his last 11 games while averaging 27.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game on the season.
Ja Morant: The Memphis Grizzlies might be the most surprising team in basketball this season. They sit in third place in the West with a 31-15 record. Memphis has won 12 of its last 13 games. A big reason for that has been the breakout season for Morant.
Morant is averaging over 24 points per game while posting solid assist and rebound numbers as well. In hindsight, Pelicans fans can't be happy about their decision to pass on Morant to draft Zion Williamson with how this season has gone. Over the past week, Morant has gone from 25-to-1 to 14-to-1 to win NBA MVP.