Why Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should win the 2023-24 MVP award

The NBA will announce its 2023-24 MVP winner on Wednesday and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of three finalists with a shot to win the prestigious award.

The other two finalists are Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic. Reading the room, it appears Jokic is likely on his way to collecting his third career MVP award as he tries to lead the Denver Nuggets to back-to-back championships.

Here’s why that shouldn’t be the case.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a career season after he finished No. 5 in MVP votes last year. In 75 games, he averaged 30.1 points on 53.5% shooting, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds.

The 25-year-old led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the top seed and a 17-win improvement from last season.

Just like his squad, Gilgeous-Alexander was a constant drumbeat in the six-month campaign. He led the league in 30-plus point outings and never allowed OKC to lose more than three in a row.

Gilgeous-Alexander might’ve not enjoyed the highs Jokic and Doncic had in the season, but being a consistent threat is arguably a better season arc.

In an 82-game campaign, the consistency of scoring 30-plus points on center-esque levels of efficiency led to more team success this season than the other two had.

The Thunder smashed expectations as they graduated to title contenders this season. Meanwhile, the Nuggets had a so-so season and the Dallas Mavericks needed to tweak their roster to reach 50 wins.

Boiled down to it, reliability should be the main component of the MVP award.

Outside of the sun rising every morning, Gilgeous-Alexander’s 30 points on 50% shooting or better was one of the more reliable aspects of life over the last six months.

While the existence of voter fatigue shouldn’t factor into NBA awards, it’s hard to deny its impact. The human element of voter fatigue and biases should help Gilgeous-Alexander’s odds. After being one of the more underrated players in the league since 2018, the 25-year-old deserves his flowers.

Jokic has already won the award twice and has been a prominent face in the discussion for best player in the league for a few years. The 29-year-old has had his fair share of moments in the sun with two MVPs and a championship.

While Doncic hasn’t won the award yet, he’s been mentioned as one of the best players in the league since essentially his rookie season. His time will come, so not winning MVP this year shouldn’t sting as badly.

Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander has ascended into one of the best players in the league over the last two seasons. His development is the main reason why the Thunder’s rebuild only lasted a couple of years.

The Thunder have been a model example of how to properly conduct a rebuild by establishing a strong culture and developing homegrown talent. OKC is set up for another long contention window with this core thanks to Gilgeous-Alexander’s unexpected rise to superstardom.

That type of progression should be awarded with an MVP trophy for Gilgeous-Alexander.

He’ll surely have future campaigns similar to this season, but this might be the 25-year-old’s best shot at MVP. His case this year is as strong as it’ll likely ever be.

Averaging 30-plus points on 53% shooting and being a two-way threat for the top seed in a competitive Western Conference is about as textbook of an MVP winner as they’ll ever be.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s efficient scoring season shares elite company. He’s only the fourth guard in league history to average 30-plus points on 63% or better true-shooting percentage.

The precedent is there for him to win the MVP. One of those four seasons includes Stephen Curry’s MVP season in 2015-16, where he was the unanimous winner.

The Thunder were arguably the second-best team in the league behind the Boston Celtics this season. They finished top four in net rating, offensive rating and defensive rating. They had the second-best point differential.

That type of success — especially when it was unexpected — should be awarded by the league. They can do that by handing Gilgeous-Alexander a much-deserved MVP award.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire