Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid Finalists for 2021 NBA MVP Award

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers on April 19, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA announced its three MVP finalists for the 2020-21 season on Thursday evening: Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. 


Take a look at your 2020-21 #KiaMVP finalists…<br><br>⭐️ Nikola Jokic <br>⭐️ Joel Embiid<br>⭐️ Steph Curry #NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/CsfcHdBSfb

Curry is the only one of the three to have won the MVP award in the past, claiming the honor in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

The 33-year-old finished the 2020-21 season as the NBA's scoring leader (32 PPG), adding 5.8 assists and five rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three. He also led the NBA in made threes (337).

Embiid, 27, has made a strong argument to be considered the best two-way player in the NBA. He was dominant in the 2020-21 season, averaging 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and a steal per game, shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three. 

He led the Sixers to the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But the question surrounding his MVP candidacy is whether voters would dock him for missing 21 games this season. 

The 26-year-old Jokic, on the other hand, played in every single game this year, averaging an impressive 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 56.6 percent from the field 38.8 percent from three. 

Jokic is a singular offensive force at the center position, with his unique passing and impressive perimeter shooting making him the perfect weapon as a big man in the modern, floor-spacing NBA. 

The other award finalists were named as well on Thursday:

Rookie of the Year Finalists

  • Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball
  • Minnesota Timberwolves wing Anthony Edward
  • Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton

Sixth Man of the Year

  • Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson
  • Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles
  • New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert
  • Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons
  • Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

Coach of the Year

  • Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz
  • Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks
  • Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns

Most Improved Player

  • Detroit Pistons wing Jerami Grant
  • Denver Nuggets wing Michael Porter Jr.
  • New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle