Magic Johnson is objectively one of the greatest NBA players of all time. While his on-the-court skill set is beyond reproach, his off-the-court basketball analysis has come under scrutiny.
In Johnson’s defense, however, at least he doesn’t get himself into as much trouble as Shaquille O’Neal.
This past week, Johnson offered up a top-five list of who he believes the favorites are for this year’s MVP award.
Naturally, it stirred up a debate.
“LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokić and Jaylen Brown are the top five MVP candidates right now,” Johnson wrote.
The responses poured in immediately.
Jaylen Brown?! MIP if anything, he’s been having a hell of a yr but MVP’s do this every night
— mamba 4 life (@angoeejayy__) January 21, 2021
Brown over Paul George and Curry ?
— Aidan Dixon (@AidanDixon6) January 21, 2021
Jaylon brown over Luka? You gotta be shittin me
— Depressed cowboys Fan 😢 (@othy_da_don) January 21, 2021
no zach lavine here is an L,, magic
— lmao (@woodallrique) January 21, 2021
Any list without @StephenCurry30 who has beat lakers clippers and Portland … is a fraudulent list
— justin price (@justinpricex) January 21, 2021
While everyone will obviously have their own opinions, there is a reasonable case to be made for everyone on Johnson’s list.
James is averaging 24.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game, and the Los Angeles Lakers boast the NBA’s best record. He has also kept his team steady in the face of consistently bad officiating and wild conspiracy theories.
Embiid is averaging 26.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists a game while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Philadelphia 76ers are the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference thanks in no small part to him.
From there, Johnson’s picks get a bit more controversial.
It’s a wrap for Shaq.https://t.co/hUWY74w9vz
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 22, 2021
Jokic having a great statistical year. He is averaging 25.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 10.0 assists a game, but the Denver Nuggets are ranked No. 10 in the Western Conference. Similarly, Durant is averaging 31.3 points a game so far, along with 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists, but the Brooklyn Nets are No. 5 in the East despite a stacked roster and have a lot of problems.
Finally, Brown’s 25.8 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field has been a huge reason for why the Boston Celtics are No. 2 in the East, but is he even the most valuable player on his own team? There is a reasonable argument to be made that distinction still belongs to Jayson Tatum.
One way or another, the MVP picture should come into focus as the season progresses, and at that point a truer assessment of Johnson’s picks will likely be easier to make.