The battle for NBA Most Valuable Player will feature the three expected finalists: All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.
The NBA announced on Friday the finalists for seven awards for the 2022-23 season, including MVP which features the same trio of finalists as in 2021-22.
Jokic has won the award in the past two seasons. During the regular season, the center averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists for Northwest Division champion Denver (53-29), the top seed in the Western Conference.
Antetokounmpo recorded averages of 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists for the Bucks (58-24), who boast the NBA’s best regular-season record in securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. He won the league MVP in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Embiid averaged a league-best 33.1 points along with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the 76ers (54-28), who finished second in the Atlantic Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference. An All-Star every season since 2017-18, Embiid made the All-NBA second teams in 2017-18, 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22 but has not before been voted MVP.
The award winners will be announced during TNT’s coverage of the NBA playoffs beginning next week. The NBA will release the award announcement schedule on Sunday.
The three finalists for each award category were based on voting by an international panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Those finalists for the six other awards in addition to MVP are as follows:
Clutch Player of the Year: Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
Defensive Player of the Year: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks), Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Most Improved Player: Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz)
Rookie of the Year: Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic), Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz), Jalen Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Sixth Man of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon (Boston Celtics), Bobby Portis Jr. (Milwaukee Bucks), Immanuel Quickley (New York Knicks)
Coach of the Year: Mike Brown (Sacramento Kings), Mark Daigneault (Oklahoma City Thunder), Joe Mazzulla (Boston Celtics)