LeBron James, Giannis Antetokpounmpo gain separation on NBA MVP Ladder 2.0

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NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers

Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images).

In our 2nd look at the NBA MVP race, 2 players — LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo — have separated from the pack and a new face joins the top 5.

The NBA landscape has shifted a bit over the last four weeks since we took our first look at the race for NBA MVP honors. But just as the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack in their respective conference standings, so too have the faces of those teams stepped out as the top MVP contenders.

Four of the five contenders on NBA MVP Ladder 2.0 also claimed rungs on the first version, with only Anthony Davis of the Lakers slipping off. But only two of the remaining four are on the same rung they were in late November.

A reminder of some of the ground rules in place for this exercise:

After those eliminations, there were 19 players considered — doing due diligence to ensure no legitimate candidates were missed — with the gap between sixth place and second place nearly three times smaller than the separation between the bottom of the ladder at No. 5 and the No. 19 player on the list.

As was indicated earlier, there has been some separation achieved at the top of the ladder.

Through Friday night’s slate, the Charlotte Hornets have completed the largest amount of their schedule, playing 31 of their 82 games (37.8 percent of the slate). At the other end of the spectrum, you will find the Boston Celtics, who played their 26th game of the season on Friday and have completed 31.7 percent of their schedule.

The point of the trivialities noted above? Merely to point out there is a boatload of season remaining and there is a lot that can change in the race between Dec. 21 and April 15.

With apologies to Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, the last player dropped off the ladder, let’s begin the countdown.

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