Joel Embiid stands atop our MVP race at the break


We have reached the midway point of the NBA season, and the race for MVP is becoming clearer. Let’s take a look at how the race stacks up at the All-Star break.

Leaving the countdown: Kevin Durant (previously #7)

He’s missed 12 of the Nets’ last 13 games with injuries and 19 games overall. His teammates have fared just fine, winning 10 of their last 11.

9. Luka Doncic (previously: #8)

Season stats: 28.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 9.0 APG, 47.8 FG%, 75.7 FT%, 26.2 PER

The Mavericks are starting to pick up steam, with five wins in their last six, but Doncic’s numbers have sagged. Over the last two weeks, he’s at 26.2/7.2/6.6.

8. Stephen Curry (previously: #9)

Season stats: 29.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 47.8 FG%, 93.4 FT%, 25.2 PER

Another candidate whose team has started to pick things up in the ultra-competitive West, but Steph’s shooting numbers hit a dip: 39.9% FG, and just 32.2% from 3-point land.

7. Damian Lillard (previously: #5)

Season stats: 29.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 8.0 APG, 44.5 FG%, 38.4 3FG%, 93.3 FT%, 26.6 PER

Dame continues to put up numbers (44 points, 7 assists vs SAC Wednesday night), but Portland isn't getting the wins. The Blazers are 3-4 in their last seven heading into the break.

6. Kawhi Leonard (previously: #4)

Season stats: 26.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, 51.1 FG%, 87.3 FT%, 26.7 PER

Every team goes through a rough road trip, and the Clippers just had theirs. One win in five games in Memphis, Milwaukee, Boston and D.C. Leonard sat out the loss to the Celtics and scored just 17 in a 28-point loss to the Grizz.

5. James Harden (previously unranked)

Season stats: 25.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 11.1 APG, 48.4 FG%, 85.9 FT%, 24.8 PER

Durant’s loss is the Beard’s gain. Harden has taken on the leadership and scoring mantle for the Nets as they rise up the Eastern Conference standings. He has averaged nearly a triple-double (27.5/9.6/10.9) during Brooklyn’s 10-1 run up to the break.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (previously: #6)

Season stats: 29.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, 55.7 FG%, 66.1 FT%, 29.0 PER

The Freak has turned it on of late, as has his team. Giannis has averaged 33.0/12.6/5.7 over his team’s last seven, and the Bucks have won six. Milwaukee is just two games behind the 76ers for the top spot in the East.

3. Nikola Jokic (previously: #3)

Season stats: 27.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 8.6 APG, 56.7 FG%, 88.1 FT%, 31.6 PER (Leads NBA)

Jokic and the Nuggets steamed into the break with five wins in six games. He’s dropped four triple-doubles in his last 11 games.

2. LeBron James (previously: #2)

Season stats: 25.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.8 APG, 50.9 FG%, 69.2 FT%, 24.4 PER 

Could the loss of Anthony Davis be wearing on the 36-year-old? While James' numbers have stayed consistent (27.0/7.0/6.8 over his last 5), the Lakers are just 3-7 in their last 10 games.

1. Joel Embiid (previously: #1)

Season stats: 30.2 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 52.1 FG%, 85.6 FT%, 31.2 PER (2nd in NBA)

Went head-to-head against 2-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert Wednesday night. Ho-hum ... 40 points, 19 rebounds, two blocks. Embiid has five 40/10 games this season; the rest of the NBA has four, combined. It’s currently his trophy to lose.

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