The MVP race is interesting for NBA fans and analysts alike. This season, the strongest basketball players in the National Basketball Association traditionally compete for the most prestigious individual award, including such veterans as Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, established superstars as Jason Tatum and Nikola Jokic, as well as young players under 23 years old, such as Luka Doncic and Ja Morant.
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The youngest MVPs in NBA history
The youngest NBA single-season MVP in the 2010-2011 season was Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose at the age of 22. More than 10 years have passed, and the National Basketball Association did not have a younger talent who could break the record. However, before the triumph of Rose, he also did not exist.
The second-youngest MVP winner in history is Wes Unseld, who played for the Baltimore Bullets. The player received the award at the age of 22 in the 1968-1969 season. Rounding out the top three youngest MVPs is Moses Malone, who played for the Houston Rockets. The player managed to achieve this achievement in the 1978-1979 season.
Among the winners of the award at the age of 23, we also note Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970-1971), Wilt Chamberlain (1959-1960), Bill Russell (1957-1958).
MVP contenders under 23 this season
We will not name all the players who theoretically can claim this award, since their list can be quite extensive. Consider real contenders who are already in the TOP-10. Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant and Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic. Both basketball players have been demonstrating a fantastic game and high individual performance for several seasons, so their appearance in the rating of contenders does not surprise anyone.
Last season, both the Grizzlies and the Mavericks took the lead in the Western Conference. Memphis played in the Playoffs against the Warriors and lost in 6 games (Morant missed three games). Before the injury, he was at his best, averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists per game. On the other hand, Luka Doncic quickly became Dallas’ number one and a nightmare for the Phoenix Suns in last season’s Playoffs.
Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies, 23)
A very athletic and experienced player, despite the fact that he is only 23 years old. Morant finished seventh in last year’s MVP voting behind Jason Tatum. To many analysts, Jha seems very cocky, but we can’t deny the fact that he is already the future of the Grizzlies. Every year since he was drafted, he has gradually turned into a basketball superstar, and now he really claims the title of the most valuable player in the National Basketball Association.
Ja Morant is averaging 27.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks and 3.8 turnovers per game this season. Despite the fact that Ja Morant’s stats are somewhat worse than Doncic’s, these are elite stats and the Grizzlies’ player is actually in the top 10 MVP contenders. However, in order to get even more chances, Jah needs to improve his stats to at least 30 or more points per match.
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks, 23)
Luca “Magic” is in the top 3 NBA leaders for various reasons. He may not be the most athletic defender in the league, but he makes every defender nervous when playing 1v1 against the Slovenian. This is due to Doncic’s high IQ. Since the rookie season, Luka’s name has always been in talk of becoming the face of the NBA in the future. The Slovenian player is only 23 years old but seems to have reached his peak early in his career. With his exemplary talent and skills, there is no doubt that he will win several MVP awards in the future, along with Serbian center Nikola Jokic. However, will Doncic manage to do this this season? The chances are good enough.
This season, Luka Doncic’s statistics are impressive. At the start of the season, for 24 games played with the Mavericks, he averaged 32.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game, with 3 .5 losses per game. These are the best individual figures in the League at the moment, however, compared to other leaders of the top clubs, Doncic spends an average of 36.8 minutes on the court, which is quite a lot. Therefore, many analysts fear that the Slovenian may fail health. If this does not happen, then it is likely that Luca will be able to win the prestigious award as early as 2023.