Who is the NBA MVP as 2023 Begins?

Who is the NBA MVP as 2023 Begins?
© USA Today

Luka Doncic had been posting MVP-like numbers all season. Now, the Dallas Mavericks forward has a signature MVP moment to strengthen his case. 

Doncic put up a historic triple-double in the Mavericks’ 121-116 overtime win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday, posting career-highs of 60 points and 21 rebounds to go along with 10 assists. 

It’s the first time in NBA history a player has recorded a 60-20-10 triple-double.

“I’m tired as hell,” Doncic said after playing 49 minutes and all but 12 seconds of the second half and overtime.

In addition to the historic stat line, Doncic led his team to one of the most improbable wins in NBA history. According to ESPN, over the last 20 seasons, each of the 13,884 teams that were behind by at least nine points with 35 seconds left went on to lose the game. 

With just a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Dallas down two, Doncic intentionally missed his second free throw, secured the loose ball and threw up a desperation 11-foot jumper that went in and would eventually force overtime. Doncic scored 10 points in the final minute of regulation and added seven more in the extra session to secure the victory.

“Just his competitiveness to win is at a very high level,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said, “and you saw that displayed tonight.”

Doncic’s stat line was the fifth-best game score according to Basketball Reference, which ranks every individual’s efficiency since the 1983-84 season. For perspective, Michael Jordan’s 69-point, 11-rebound game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1990 ranks first, while Kobe Bryant’s 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors is second. 

Player BetMGM DraftKings FanDuel Caesars PointsBet Unibet
Jayson Tatum +275 +270 +280 +270 +300 +275
Luka Doncic +400 +350 +440 +300 +350 +450
Nikola Jokic +400 +425 +500 +500 +500 +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo +450 +380 +360 +400 +350 +350
Joel Embiid +800 +1200 +1100 +900 +900 +1400
Kevin Durant +900 +800 +850 +2500 +800 +1000
Ja Morant +3300 +3000 +3000 +2500 +2500 +3000
Donovan Mitchell +3300 +3500 +3500 +3000 +3000 +4000
Devin Booker +4000 +6000 +5000 +2000 +10000 +8000
Zion Williamson +4000 +3000 +3000 +1600 +2500 +4000
Steph Curry +5000 +5000 +4600 +4000 +4100 +6000
Damian Lillard +12500 +15000 +13000 +6000 +10000 +25000

Luka Doncic MVP Odds

Doncic is currently having one of the best seasons of his career, posting career-highs in points per game (33.6), assists (8.8) and field-goal percentage (51%). 

Following his historical performance, he’s now third behind Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo for the second-best MVP odds at FanDuel at +390. 

Both Antetokounmpo and Doncic trail the current favorite, Boston’s Jayson Tatum (+340). Tatum is also averaging a career-high with 31.1 points and 8.1 rebounds and has led the Celtics to the best record in the league at 25-10. 

Zion Williamson Making MVP Push

After missing last season because of a foot injury, Zion Williamson has played like the MVP candidate many forecasted when he was drafted into the league. He’s currently averaging 25.8 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists per game and is coming off one of the best performances of his career.

Williamson scored a career-high 43 points in a 119-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, including his team’s final 14 points to lead the comeback victory. 

It was an efficient performance for Willamson, who converted 14 of 21 shots from the field and went 14 of 19 from the line. He started slow, scoring just 10 points in the first half. According to ESPN, his 33-second half points tied Anthony Davis for a franchise record, while his 14 consecutive points were the most by a Pelicans player to end a game in team history. 

Willamson is now +3000 at FanDuel Sportsbook to win MVP and his team’s success should help his cause, similar to Tatum. The win was New Orleans’ fourth in a row, which puts the Pelicans in a tie for first place in the Western Conference at 22-12. 

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