Even before the 2023-24 NBA season began, we knew who would be listed in the initial MVP rankings. Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic, and reigning league MVP Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers were obvious preseason picks to win the Most Valuable Player of the Year award this season.

While all three players are still very much at the forefront of discussion for this award, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards has emerged as an intriguing name in this race. Since being drafted first overall by Minnesota in 2020, Edwards grew into an All-Star talent last season and has quickly transcended his game through the Timberwolves' first nine games of the regular season.

From smack-talking Draymond Green in the middle of a game to hitting clutch shots when his team needed a basket, Edwards has been the Timberwolves' MVP to this point in the year. We always say the MVP award is one that tends to favor the best player on the best team in the league. Well, Edwards has the Wolves at 7-2 and right at the top of the Western Conference standings after a recent victory over the Golden State Warriors.

“No matter how bad I shoot from the field, when the game is on the line, I'm gonna shoot it every time,” Edwards said after defeating the Warriors on Sunday, via Bally Sports North. “My teammates know that, so they believe in me.”

From scoring at a high rate to doing the dirty work defensively, Edwards is blossoming into one of the best all-around players in the league at 22 years old. While still inexperienced compared to others on this list, Edwards just earned his first-ever Player of the Week honors and has solidified his spot inside the NBA MVP Monday rankings.

Previous 2023-24 NBA MVP Rankings: Week 2 | Week 1

1. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets 

Nuggets' Nikola Jokic saying "Terminator mode activated"

Previous Rankings: #1

2023-24 season stats: 10 games, 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 60.6 FG%, 33.3 3P%

No matter how you look at the MVP conversation right now, there is no denying that Nikola Jokic has been dominating the rest of the league. The reigning NBA Finals MVP has recorded at least 22 points and 10 rebounds in every single game this season, and his Denver Nuggets sit at the top of the Western Conference standings again.

What's even crazier is that Jokic's recent 36-point, 21-rebound, and 11-assist night against the Houston Rockets puts him next to Wilt Chamberlain (1968) as the only players in league history to achieve such numbers in a single game, according to Ryan Blackburn. This was also Jokic's 10th game with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists, joining Oscar Robertson and Wilt in league history.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has sung praise for his star big man countless times, but what goes unnoticed is the way other coaches around the league speak about Jokic. After playing against Jokic and the Nuggets recently, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called the Serbian big man the “best player in the world.”

With Jamal Murray dealing with a hamstring injury, Denver is currently the Nikola Jokic show. His numbers are only going to continue to go up.

2. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

76ers' Joel Embiid

Previous Rankings: #5

2023-24 season stats: 9 games, 32.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 50.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%

Through nine games, Joel Embiid has recorded five games with at least 30 points, four of which happened to be double-double performances. A brute force in the paint who is more than comfortable hitting jump shots from around the free-throw line, Embiid continues to be a headache for every other team in the league besides the Philadelphia 76ers. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the Sixers and Embiid is the fact that the league's reigning MVP recently claimed that nobody has an “ego” on this roster.

Was this a shot at James Harden? It's possible that Embiid was singling out Harden with this comment, but it's true that the Sixers are a very unselfish team right now. The offense is flowing with ease with Embiid at the forefront of everything and Tyrese Maxey playing the role of elite sidekick. Philadelphia is at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with Embiid putting up identical numbers to the ones he held a season ago. Winning is all that matters to Joel, and his only goal is to win a championship.

3. Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks

Mavs' Luka Doncic

Previous Rankings: #2

2023-24 season stats: 10 games, 32.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 52.6 FG%, 41.7 3P%

Luka Doncic has the Dallas Mavericks at 8-2 on the season and tied with Jokic's Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference standings. Compared to previous years, Doncic is taking and making a lot more three-pointers this season, with four triples in three of Dallas' last four games. Good things happen for the Mavs when Doncic has the ball and, so far, he's leading the league in scoring at 32.6 points per game.

The way Luka can vault Embiid and Jokic in the MVP conversation is by continuing to aid the Mavs in winning games, but also figuring out a way to step up defensively. This has been a point of emphasis from Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd, and this is an area in which the two ranked ahead of him on these MVP rankings have a leg up on him. By devoting a little more attention to detail on defense, Doncic can make the Mavs a top 10 team on both sides of the court, thus making him the best player in the league.

4. Anthony Edwards – Minnesota Timberwolves

Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards thinking about the NBA MVP trophy

Previous Rankings: Not Ranked

2023-24 season stats: 9 games, 28.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 48.7 FG%, 36.1 3P%

Everyone wants to talk about Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Luka Doncic in terms of the MVP race being a three-man race this season. Well, here comes Anthony Edwards, a player who doesn't care about anything people are saying about him because he's one of the most elite scorers in the league right now. Between working on his craft by himself during the offseason and playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, Edwards has unlocked a new confidence and aura in his game.

Take last season for example. Edwards was great and made his first All-Star appearance, but he had some trouble getting to his spots and involving his teammates. This season, Edwards looks matured, is comfortable from anywhere on the court, and he just ushers a certain level of confidence we only see in players like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry in terms of getting to their spots offensively regardless of who is defending them. Edwards currently ranks 10th in the league in scoring and has the Minnesota Timberwolves right behind Jokic and Doncic in the standings.

A killer on offense who is quietly becoming one of the best two-way players on the wing, Anthony Edwards is certainly in the MVP conversation right now.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo on fire

Previous Rankings: Not Ranked

2023-24 season stats: 9 games, 28.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 58.1 FG%, 23.8 3P%

The Milwaukee Bucks are undoubtedly struggling a bit right now. Giannis Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, is not struggling, as he has recorded 140 total points over his last four games, including a 54-point performance against the Indiana Pacers this past week. Although the Bucks dropped this game and are still figuring out who they are as a team, Antetokounmpo continues to do everything in his power to keep Milwaukee at the top of the NBA standings.

Great players always figure out ways to win games, which is the case with Giannis and the Bucks. Unfortunately, their hopes of winning a championship are very much up in the air right now. While Damian Lillard's arrival has helped Antetokounmpo in terms of having a second star, Milwaukee's defense is non-existent and nobody has stepped up outside of these two superstars.

Nonetheless, Giannis remains the sole reason why the Bucks can flip things around in just a few games. Without him, Milwaukee would probably be sitting near the bottom of the league standings.