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What we've seen from NBA's top contenders for Kia MVP and Kia Rookie of the Year

Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama are making their final case for NBA awards.

Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama have been leaders in the NBA Kia MVP and ROY race.

These five players have been the leaders on’s weekly award ladders.

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We’ve assembled a five-part series called “What We’ve Seen,” which examines the top candidates on the Kia Rookie Ladder and Kia MVP Ladder.

Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren have been the league’s best rookies, while Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have performed as the league’s most valuable players, per the ladders.

As each player closes their case for the hardware, it’s time to revisit their most impressive moments, best stat lines and what made them famous in the film room this season.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic is a special offensive talent, not just in today’s NBA, but in the history of the game. He’s a 6-foot-7, 230-pound point guard with incredible skills, able to get to the basket, shoot from distance and make every pass on the floor. There isn’t a correct way to defend him, because he’ll always take whatever the defense wants to give him. Sometimes he’ll take what they don’t want to give. He’s still just 25 and bound to be an MVP candidate for many years to come. Go deeper.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a terrific offensive player who controls the game at his own pace and can make the best defenders in the league look silly. He’s also an incredibly disruptive and often stout defender. He’s the leader of one of the two teams that rank in the top five on both ends of the floor. And with the Oklahoma City Thunder going from below .500 last season to a top-four team in the league, Gilgeous-Alexander has gone from All-Star to MVP candidate. Go deeper.

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

They had to wait a year, but the Oklahoma City Thunder clearly have themselves a franchise cornerstone in Kia Rookie of the Year candidate Chet Holmgren. The Thunder have been the league’s most improved team in terms of win percentage and the second-most improved team in point differential per 100 possessions, having seen significant improvement in both offensive and defensive efficiency. And Holmgren is a big reason why. Go deeper.

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

There have been many elements to Nikola Jokic’s Kia MVP candidacy over the last few seasons, and they’re all there again this season. If box score numbers are your thing, Jokic is putting up some that we haven’t seen in more than 60 years. He’s once again one of the most efficient scorers in the league. His value is clear from how much better the Denver Nuggets are when he’s on the floor. And when you watch the defending champs, it doesn’t take long to realize that he’s the centerpiece of everything they do. Go deeper.

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama was the most anticipated Draft prospect in 20 years, and he’s absolutely lived up to the hype. The 20-year-old from outside of Paris is a nightly highlight show, but also a rookie making a huge impact on a team that was fortunate to win the Lottery 10 months ago. He’s already one of the best defenders in the league and is showing flashes of being unstoppable on the other end of the floor. Go deeper.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X. 

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