NBA MVP Power Rankings: Major shakeup in top three after first round of playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks recently took a 3-2 series lead over the LA Clippers after dominantly beating them 123-93 in Los Angeles. The Mavericks arguably had their best wire-to-wire victory on Wednesday night as they destroyed the Clippers on both ends of the floor.

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Off the bench, Maxi Kleber finally ended his shooting drought by knocking in five huge shots from behind the arc, including four threes in the second quarter. Kleber led the team in threes made during Game 5 and ended the Mavericks’ rough shooting stretch during the first half.

Another Maverick who had a great impact during the Mavericks’ 30-point win was Derrick Jones Jr. who became a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor as he clamped up Clippers superstar Paul George and limited him to 4-13 from the field.

NBA MVP Power Rankings: Major shakeup in top three after first round of playoffs

Jones Jr. ended the night with three total blocks and on the offensive end, he got many easy buckets with his timely slot cuts and corner shot-making ability.

With these two role players contributing over the last few games it has opened the floor up for Mavericks star Luka Doncic. In Game 5, Doncic arguably had his most all-around performance of this year’s playoffs as he finished with 35-10-7 on efficient shooting splits.

Doncic was easily able to establish his inside post shot when getting mismatched onto smaller guards or James Harden in the paint. With that in mind, it gave Doncic the ability to kick the ball out to open shooters like Kleber or take on a mismatch down low.

Dallas then closed the series out on Friday night as they beat the Clippers in Game 6 to advance to the second round to play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With this in mind, let’s see how each MVP candidate’s first-round performance would shake up the MVP race. The playoffs do not have an effect on MVP voting as this is a regular season award, but here’s what it would look like if it did.

Last rank: 10

Despite getting swept in the first round, Kevin Durant has proven that old age has yet to catch up to him. Through Phoenix’s short-lived playoff run, Durant became a must-watch player every night and even created a little rivalry with Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards.

Last rank: 8

Another Sun cracks the top ten with Devin Booker being a guaranteed second-team All-NBA lock. All season long, Booker held the Suns together and even helped them stay out of Play-In contention at the end of the season. Despite this, Phoenix still has many questions to answer during this extended offseason.

Last rank: 9

Anthony Davis’ stellar playoff performance keeps him in contention for a second-team All-NBA birth. Despite drawing a tough assignment being the lone defender on Nikola Jokic, Davis held his own throughout large stretches of that five-game series.

Last rank: N/A

Anthony Edwards has exploded onto the scene since the playoffs tipped off. He single-handedly defeated the Phoenix Suns in four short games and dropped multiple 40-point games in the process.

Last rank: 5

Jayson Tatum has entered the struggle bus at arguably the worst time of the season. Despite leading the Celtics to a 4-1 series win over the Miami Heat, Tatum struggled through many games and has yet to find his shooting touch in the playoffs.

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