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With NBA All-Star weekend days away, we're well past the halfway point of the regular season and the MVP race has tightened up with the disqualification of Joel Embiid, who is out with a torn meniscus and cannot make the 65-game eligibility cutoff. 

Let's get into the current rankings.

1. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (current odds: -175)

Jokic is the clear betting favorite and for good reason: He's the best player in the world on what is probably still the best team in the Denver Nuggets, who drop by 21.3 points per 100 possessions when Jokic leaves the floor, per Cleaning the Glass. 

You want traditional stats? Jokic is the only player in the league averaging at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and he's clearing those marks easily. Leading most advanced stats with a RAPTOR WAR that is damn near twice the next closest guy on this list (Luka Doncic), Jokic remains the nerd-number king. 

All of this said, Jokic is not a lock for this award by any stretch, but should be win it, he would become just the ninth player in history to with three MVPs and the seventh to win three in four years. 

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder (current odds: +225)

The Thunder are the West's No. 2 seed entering play on Wednesday with the second-best point differential in the league, trailing only the Celtics, and SGA is obviously the driver of this bus. He is, or should be, right there with Jokic, with perhaps a portion of the voting sentiment on his side for the surprise leap a Thunder team that was expected to be good but not this good has made. 

The Thunder have a lot of talent, as do the Nuggets, but SGA, like Jokic, is the one that really makes it go. Consider that when SGA is off the court, OKC is a net-zero team -- they literally score and surrender 111.7 points per 100 possessions, per CTG -- with what would rank as the seventh-worst offense in the league. 

Put SGA on the floor, and they outscore teams by 10.6 points per 100 with what would rank as the best offense in the league. SGA's plus-7.6 per-game point differential bests Jokic. Nobody has scored more points, or more points per 100 shot attempts than SGA's 131.6, per CTG. 

Again, Jokic is the best player, but SGA has a legitimate case as having been the best player this season, and I would be saying that even if Embiid were still in the mix. 

3. Luka Doncic, Mavericks (current odds: +800)

Nobody has created more points this season -- via scoring and assists -- than Doncic, who has a 73-point game on his ledger and, with Embiid out of the equation, is in line to win the scoring title at 34.3 PPG entering play on Wednesday.  

Doncic shoulders an incredible offensive load for the Mavericks (nobody comes close to his 40.1% usage rate, per CTG), and he is registering the the highest 3-point and true-shooting percentages of his career. 

Currently, Doncic is on pace to become just the third player in history to average at least 30 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for a season, joining Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook, who both won MVP the years they did it. 

Doncic impacts games all over the court when it counts most as the only player in the league averaging at least eight points, two assists and two rebounds in fourth quarters. Doncic has the worst supporting cast out of anyone on this list (props to Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dereck Lively II notwithstanding) and yet the Mavericks have won five straight and are just one game back in the loss column of the No. 5 seed. 

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (current odds: +500)

If you have Giannis ahead of Luka, I won't squabble with you. He has been superb again -- averaging over 30 points a game on a career-high 61% shooting. He's also averaging a career-high 6.5 assists. Remove Embiid, and Giannis is the only guy averaging 30 and 10. He's the only guy period putting up at least 25 points, 10 boards, six assists and a block per game. He's averaging 1.4 steals for good measure. 

Overshadowing Giannis' typically relentless production is the fact that the Bucks have, relatively speaking, underperformed, though most of their struggles have been on the defensive end, and that, in turn, can be largely pegged to the offensive-oriented roster they built in trading for Damian Lillard. They fired Adrian Griffin. Doc Rivers hasn't gotten off to the best start. But a post-All-Star surge from Milwaukee could put Giannis in contention for his third MVP. 

5. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (current odds: +5000)

Jayson Tatum is going to round out the top five on most of these lists, but I'm going with Leonard, who is almost certainly not going to win the award because of superteam stigmas but has nonetheless been one of the best players in the league all season. 

Leonard is registering 53/45/89 shooting splits, right on the cusp of the exclusive 50-40-90 club. He's at 54% from 3 in February. His midrange pull-up, with his natural fade and high release, is arguably the most reliable shot in basketball. The Clippers have won 26 of their last 33 games, and Kawhi has only missed four games all season, though he is expected to miss his fifth on Wednesday night against Golden State. 

(Honorable mentions: Jayson Tatum, Celtics; Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers; Jalen Brunson, Knicks)