– Soon we will get «Zucca basketball»

The sport that was once reserved for Americans is now being conquered by hungry Europeans and Africans. A Serb, Greek and Cameroonian have been the best in the NBA this season. This gives hope to the Norwegian talent.

FAVORITES: Joel Embiid (left), Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo are favorites to be named the NBA’s most valuable player this season.

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Whoever wins the generous MVP trophy, the award for the most valuable player in the league, will be announced in June – but voting is taking place today.

There’s a very high-profile panel of NBA journalists in charge of voting, and there are three favorites that stand out:

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece (Milwaukee Bucks)
  2. Nikola Jockey from Serbia (Denver Nuggets)
  3. Joel Embiid from Cameroon (Philadelphia 76ers)

All three are playing at historically high levels, all three look set to go to the NBA Finals, and all three were born outside the United States.

– It’s great for the league and sport that the NBA has become so international, former national team player Magnus Midtvedt told VG.

  • The NBA finals are played Sunday. You can follow it «NBA 360» on VG + Sportsa program that jumps from match to match so you get them all at once.
LONG CAREER: Magnus Midtvedt had a long career as a basketball player behind him. He thought Joel Embiid would be MVP.

Midtvedt was in the NBA VG studio when Nikola Jokic earlier this year made a “triple-double” against the Brooklyn Nets.

A “triple-double” has double-digit points, rebounds and goalscorers in the same game.

He has done so 19 times this season. Next on the list is Dejounte Murray with 13.

– Jokic has carried a weak Nuggets team without Jamal Murray all year, and is actually (unbelievably) even more raw this year than his MVP season last year, Midtvedt said of Jokic.

– I think it’s between him and Embiid. Still believe in Embiid because Jokic and Antetokounmpo have won it before, he said about the MVP race.

MVPs? Joel Embiid from Cameroon is a hot candidate.

Because of that, everyone can win

But there are good arguments for all three.

Joel Embiid of Cameroon may become the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to have the most points per game in the NBA. At the time of writing, he is 0.1 points clear of LeBron James.

– Embiid has been in the NBA elite for years, but he actually made it to the ballot in 2021/22. His consistency and freedom from injury have managed to keep Philadelphia’s turbulent season on a steady track, says NBA writer Tim Bontemps. ESPN.com.

Serbian Nikola Jokic could become the 13th player to win the MVP trophy two years in a row.

– He is in the top ten in points, returns, assists per game and stroke percentage – something no one has done in the last 50 years, said ESPN reporter Ohm Youngmisuk.

Giannis Antetokounmpo could become the 9th player with three MVP titles.

– He can win the “defender of the season”, and become the highest scoring player. The argument for Giannis as MVP is getting stronger, says ESPN’s Jamal Collier.

MVPs? Giannis Antetokounmpo is the outsider to win.

Waiting for «Zuccarello basketball»

Midtvedt believes that the fact that no Americans interfere in the discussions will help change the league.

“I think international players stand out now because they’ve been trained early on with technical skills and tactical reading of the collective game more than Americans who have long been alone at the top of the world and won a lot with their raw athletic qualities,” he said.

– The NBA has long wanted to go global, and this means the sport is growing. I also think it inspired Americans to look more at technical and tactical skills from an early age. They also brought this to a point in Stephen Curry, who has revolutionized the way basketball is now played. Trae Young was probably the first result to follow – and he won’t be the last.

– What does that mean for Norway’s NBA hopes?

– Such a style of play also gives us hope for the Norwegians to get, for example, our own Harald Frey (BC Göttingen) into the league. Here is good to follow. Soon we got “Zuccarello basketball” in the NBA …

NORWAY STAR: Harald Frey was a huge national team star, having become a cult hero for the American college team Montana State Bobcats (pictured). He now plays for BC Göttingen in Germany.

Henrietta Fairbank

"Amateur analyst. Zombie geek. Hardcore troublemaker. Internet expert. Incurable twitter fanatic."

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