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How an NBA rule can help Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s MVP odds

After finishing fifth in MVP voting last season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has made a serious push this season to win the coveted award.

The 25-year-old has averaged 31.3 points on 54.7% shooting, 6.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds. He’s averaging a league-leading 2.2 steals. The All-Star starter has led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 32-15 record and has a serious shot at the first seed.

When looking at his resume, Gilgeous-Alexander’s stacks up against anybody else’s in the league. The only player who’s had a definitive better season than him is Joel Embiid.

The reigning MVP is averaging 36 points on 53.9% shooting, 11.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.8 blocks. The Philadelphia 76ers continue to be title contenders due to the 29-year-old’s phenomenal play.

If Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t win MVP, it could very well be because of Embiid. With that said though, a new NBA rule could boost the former’s odds.

In the offseason, the new CBA included a clause where a player must play at least 65 games to be eligible for awards. Embiid — who’s had trouble with durability — has already 12 games this season, which means he can only miss five more games to remain eligible for MVP.

That’s a tough task to ask of the seven-footer, who’s only played 65-plus games in two of his 10 seasons since being in the league. This means there’s a very high chance he’s disqualified from the award due to this.

Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander has remained durable this season. He’s played in 46 of OKC’s 47 games, which gives him plenty of room to miss action if needed.

If Embiid is out of the way, then Gilgeous-Alexander suddenly becomes one of the favorites if the Thunder continue to be a top seed. Averaging a historically efficient 30 points while playing great defense sounds like an MVP season on paper.

If Gilgeous-Alexander claims MVP, he’ll join Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the only Thunder players to win the award. A pretty rich history of success for OKC considering its tenure since relocation.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire