Luka Dončić favored to win MVP going into 2022-2023 season
It should come as no surprise that Luka Dončić is leading the Most Valuable Player Award discussion. In three out of the four seasons that Dončić has been in the league, he has finished in the top-six in MVP voting. Dončić has been stellar every year of his young career, it just so happens that there have been other players in those years that have had standout years as well.
With voter fatigue being very pertinent, it’s not likely, but also not impossible, that reigning two-time MVP Award winner Nikola Jokić will win the award for the third consecutive year.
Dončić will certainly have competition for the award in Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but as things stand now, Dončić is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP with +460 odds.
A New Duo
What seemed like an off-season where everything would go according to plan for the Dallas Mavericks, turned into a bit of chaos after it seemed as though former Mavericks guard Jalen Bruson had made his free agency decision before taking a formal meeting with the Mavericks.
It had been rumored for weeks that Brunson could sign with the New York Knicks, but a few hours before free agency even started, the public got confirmation that he would sign with the Knicks due to some of the contract details being leaked.
Now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Dončić’s MVP campaign. Brunson’s departure could affect the team’s success, which plays into who wins the MVP a majority of the time, but it could also could increase the on-ball duties of Dončić, which is already large.
Brunson came up big for the Mavericks in the first-round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz when Dončić was out for the first few games. He was a major source for their offense and it’s a big reason for why he got paid in free agency.
However, the Mavericks did trade for big man Christian Wood, which could open up a new facet to this Mavericks offense. Wood will provide Dončić with a pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop threat that he really hasn’t had.
The closest thing that matches Wood was when the Mavericks had Kristaps Porziņģis for almost three seasons. The Dončić-Porziņģis pairing didn’t work like they had hoped, but there’s optimism that Wood will be a better fit.
Wood is better at creating his own offense when given the chance and has statistically been a better shooter than Porziņģis. However, defensively they are about the same. Not great. Porziņģis did provide a rim presence and I don’t foresee that being the case for Wood as much because JaVale McGee will take up that mantle.
Dončić will also have even more floor spacing with guard Tim Hardaway Jr. back after only playing in 42 games last year.
It’s never been about Dončić’s skill level. It has always been about the players surrounding them and how they complement his play style. The Mavericks have done a good job surrounding Dončić with players that can benefit off of his play while also trying to hide the deficiencies that Dončić has on defense.
Dončić is already one of the best players in the NBA and with a supporting cast that could take his play to another level, it’s no surprise that Dončić is favored to take home the MVP next season.
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