Almost half of the regular season has passed, and right before the All-Star weekend in Atlanta, we have a good overview of where certain teams and players are in terms of their performance. The league's landscape and its best players changed a bit than in comparison to last season, and we have a few names that are already in the MVP discussions.
It seems there is a lot of incentive to promote certain candidates more than others. So far, among most NBA analysts, you could've heard names like LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, and even Anthony Davis before he got hurt. Rightfully so, these names are in the early MVP discussion, but our goal is to highlight and rate a few other MVP candidates that are underrated, at least at this point of the season.
According to Sports Betting Dime, the odds for those underrated MVP candidates are as follows:
Nikola Jokic - 5/1
Nikola Jokic is a legitimate MVP candidate and has an astonishing season, almost averaging a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game. Jokic is a point guard trapped in a big man's body, but he uses his size extremely well, for which his efficient speaks volume. Even though the Nuggets, in general, are not having the same type of season as they did last year, there is still more than enough time for them to catch up to the leading teams in the western conference. Luckily for them, they have Jokic to lead the way, which he most certainly did so far this season.
Stephen Curry - 12/1
Curry is having a comeback season like no other. He is one of the leading scorers in the NBA, and after there were doubts about his return, no one is questioning Curry's dominance. Curry is posting 29.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 5. rebounds per game, similar to the one he had when he won his MVP award. The Warriors look like a solid team despite not having Klay Thompson this season and are most certainly a playoff team if Curry continues to play on the same level as he did so far.
Damian Lillard - 25/1
The Blazers are currently sitting on the fifth spot in the western conference despite struggling with several injured players this season. The main reason for them being in playoff contention is Damian Lillard and the monster numbers he is posting once again in his career. He's been their most consistent player this season, posting 30 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds per game, absolutely shooting the lights out every single game.
Kawhi Leonard - 40/1
The Clippers are currently third in the western conference, and after having a disappointing season last year, they are looking for another opportunity to win the title. Kawhi is once again the undisputed leader of this squad, having one of the best seasons in his career. Kawhi is averaging almost 27 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds per game to go along with his efficient shooting. Kawhi is one of the most dominant two-way players in the league, and the only thing missing in his resume is a regular-season MVP award.
Donovan Mitchell - 66/1
The Utah Jazz is currently the best team in the NBA, playing remarkable team basketball in which everyone is equally involved. However, Donovan Mitchell is their go-to-guy who is slowly but surely establishing himself as one of the NBA's best guards. Mitchell is having a career year averaging 24.5 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game, showcasing incredible talent and maturity for such a young player.
It will be interesting to see if the MVP rankings change in favor of some of the players on this list. There is still plenty of time left in the season for their teams to improve their regular-season standings, which is one reason players are selected as MVPs. All of the players on this list are posting impressive individual numbers. Still, they need to transcend that impact on their teams' success, which will land them an opportunity to be a legitimate MVP candidate.