This MVP race has been on of the most fluid races in NBA history. There was at least six different front runners for the award: DeMar DeRozan, Ja Morant, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Stephen Curry.
For respect’s sake, let me mention Devin Booker, who doesn’t get enough respect! Steph (before his injury) went into a shooting slump that we have never seen from him. That effectively eliminated him from the race. Derozan’s Bulls have started to fade over the second half of the season, after being a top 3 seed for the first half of the year. That eliminated him from contention.
Morant just entered the MVP conversation before his knee injury sidelined him until the playoffs. Probably wasn’t going to win it anyway but his injury eliminated him strictly because Memphis isn’t televised enough (which is a shame considering their ascension in the West).
Antetokounmpo is the victim of the “we’re used to it” mentally that NBA fans get when they see great play from a player for a sustained period of time. It’s the same reason why LeBron hasn’t been a finalist for the MVP for a few seasons now. It’s why Kobe only won it once. It’s why Michael Jordan only won it five times. When a player gets to a certain level, to consider them for the award seems unfair. Nevertheless, Giannis is the dark horse for this year’s MVP.