The time has finally come to determine who the NBA MVP will be. All season long, so much conversation has been made about the rise of the Oklahoma City Thunder with breakout superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. There has even been noise as of late surrounding Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic making their way up the MVP rankings. However, the one player that has sat at the top of the NBA MVP ladder the entirety of the season is Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who is on a collision course with his third trophy in the last four years.

Jokic played in all but three games this season, and he has once again proven how he has changed the game. From shooting to rebounding to passing to now making an impact on defense, there isn't anything Jokic has been able to achieve. He has single-handedly been responsible for the way teams now view the center position as an extension of their point guard. If you need proof of this, look at Domantas Sabonis and Alperen Sengun.

After winning the MVP award in 2021 and 2022, many tend to feel that Jokic was snubbed of the NBA MVP award in 2023 when Joel Embiid took home this title for the first time. At the end of the day, this didn't matter to Jokic, as he walked away with a championship and the 2023 NBA Finals MVP award instead. Now, should he win his third regular season MVP award, this will mark the third time in the last four years that Jokic has been named the best in the league, a distinction only legends of the game have achieved.

Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, and LeBron James. Those are the only six players in NBA history who have won the MVP award at least three times in a four-year span. Jokic will very likely be adding his name to this list, and deservingly so.

This has a chance to be a very historic MVP for Jokic as well. He will join Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Moses Malone with three MVP awards, only trailing Kareem (six), Michael Jordan (five), Russell (five), James (four), and Chamberlain (four) for the most in league history. Possibly add another championship and Finals MVP to Jokic's resume, and all of a sudden, we are going to start having conversations about whether he is the best big man of all time.

At 29 years old, Jokic is at the peak of his career and can now focus on the only thing that matters to him: winning another championship in Denver. As far as the NBA MVP goes, he will soon earn this honor during what he hopes to be a long playoff run with the Nuggets.

Previous 2023-24 NBA MVP Rankings: Week 24 | Week 23 | Week 22 | Week 21 | Week 20 | Week 19 | Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1

1. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets 

 Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Ball Arena.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Rankings: #1

2023-24 season stats: 79 games, 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 58.3 FG%, 35.9 3P%

One of the key statistical categories that has helped define who wins the NBA MVP award every single season is player efficiency rating. Although a few players made a late run to dethrone him from the top spot in this category, Jokic led the league in PER from start to finish. He also finished the regular season leading all players in Win Shares, box plus/minus, and VORP (Value Over Replacement Player).

Jokic was fifth in total points scored, third in total rebounds, and second in total assists. No other player in the league can say that they finished inside the top five in these three categories, let alone the top 10.

No matter the situation, Jokic always looks comfortable and confident, and that one-legged fadeaway shot he throws up late in the shot clock always seems to find a way to hit nylon.

Nikola Jokic is the NBA's Most Valuable Player.

2. Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks

 Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Rankings: #3

2023-24 season stats: 70 games, 33.9 points, 9.8 assists, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 48.7 FG%, 38.2 3P%

Doncic gave Jokic a run for his money over the final month of the regular season. Quite honestly, if Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks were able to grab the 4-seed or 3-seed in the Western Conference, this race would've been a lot closer than it is going to be when the voting results come out.

From the All-Star break through the end of the regular season, Luka was the best player in the league, averaging 33.2 points, 10.3 assists, and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 39.5 percent from three-point range. He also recorded 19 double-doubles during this span, 11 of which were triple-doubles.

What Doncic was able to accomplish over the back half of the season was remarkable, especially considering that the Mavs were a play-in team around the time of the All-Star break. It won't be long until Doncic is named the MVP of the NBA, but he will have to wait at least one more year.

3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives to the basket ahead of Sacramento Kings guard Keon Ellis (23) during the second half at Paycom Center.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Rankings: #2

2023-24 season stats: 75 games, 30.1 points, 6.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 53.5 FG%, 35.3 3P%

There is nothing wrong with believing that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be the MVP of the league. Quite honestly, he should be given that the Thunder were a fringe play-in team last season and they are now the 1-seed in the Western Conference. As far as growth goes, Gilgeous-Alexander's journey to stardom has been the most underrated storyline in the NBA.

Simply due to the fact that he is a lot like Kawhi Leonard in the sense that he doesn't open up his mouth a whole lot and keeps to himself, Shai has been overlooked by the national media. Sure, the Los Angeles Lakers have a more spread-out fan base, and people always want to hear about players like LeBron James and others, but the so-called basketball “experts” and national media we see everyday on television have given the Thunder zero respect this season. Maybe that will change if their beloved Lakers lose to Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

Gilgeous-Alexander dropped at least 30 points in 51 different games this season, the most in the league according to StatMuse. As far as NBA history goes, these 51 games with at least 30 points are tied for the 18th-most with Tracy McGrady. In the grand scheme of things, Gilgeous-Alexander scored at least 30 points in 68 percent of the games he played this season, which is a remarkable feat to think about.

At just 25 years old, Shai is just scratching the surface of the player he can become. It won't be long until he leads the league in scoring, eventually leading to him winning the MVP award.

4. Jalen Brunson – New York Knicks

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) smiles after scoring in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Rankings: #5

2023-24 season stats: 77 games, 28.7 points, 6.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 47.9 FG%, 40.1 3P%

The best player in the Eastern Conference this season has been Jalen Brunson. Sure, Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo have had magnificent seasons, but look at what Jalen Brunson has become for the New York Knicks. Not too many years ago, Knicks fans were showing up to Madison Square Garden with garbage bags over their heads. Now, The Garden is selling out, and there is real championship fever spreading amongst this fan base.

Say what you want, but the Knicks earning the 2-seed in the East is no fluke, especially considering that Brunson has been the steam engine for their success. Two seasons ago, Brunson went from being a Sixth Man of the Year candidate to a Most Improved Player candidate for the Mavericks. Now, he is an All-Star who is on his way to earning All-NBA honors for the first time in his career. Brunson finished the regular season ranking ninth in total rebounds, fifth in shots made, and fourth in scoring.

Even without Julius Randle, the Knicks were able to grab the 2-seed because of Brunson's heroics. The first-time All-Star certainly helped himself in the NBA MVP conversation when he averaged 35.9 points and 8.8 assists in eight games to close out the season. Start giving Brunson the respect he deserves now before he buries your favorite team.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) grabs his leg in the third quarter and left game against the Boston Celtics with an injury at Fiserv Forum.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Rankings: #4

2023-24 season stats: 73 games, 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 61.1 FG%, 27.4 3P%

It is unfortunate that Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a very concerning-looking calf injury to end the year. Now, his status for the playoffs is truly up in the air.

This will mark the sixth straight season that Giannis has finished inside the top five of the NBA MVP voting, but he has not won since taking home back-to-back honors in 2019 and 2020. The Bucks superstar is still just 29 years old and will be in the hunt for this award every season he plays.

What the future holds for Giannis and the Bucks may very well depend on what happens in the playoffs.

Just missing the cut

6. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics (Ranked No. 6 last week)

7. Anthony Edwards – Minnesota Timberwolves (Ranked No. 7 last week)

8. Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings (Ranked No. 8 last week)

9. Kevin Durant – Phoenix Suns (Ranked No. 9 last week)

10. Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers (Ranked No. 10 last week)