NBA MVP Poll – Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and the race position when the season is two weeks away

Last season, the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic beat Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid in the final weeks of the NBA season to win the Player of the Year award, as injuries to Embiid and Los Angeles forward LeBron James The Lakers cleared the way for Jokic to become the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.

As the 2021-22 regular season comes to an end, it looks like Jokic will repeat the inner run.

After Jokic trailed only Embiid in the previous edition in mid-February, the four-time star won 62 out of 100 votes in first place in the third and final iteration of the ESPN MVP poll. , gave Jokic a clear – albeit narrow – lead ahead of the Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks and most recently assisted MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

To gauge the race’s position with less than two weeks left in the regular season, ESPN asked 100 media members to participate in an informal poll that mimicked the post-season awards voting. . To make voting as realistic as possible, at least two people voted from each of the tournament’s 28 markets, as well as a section of local and international reporters. Votes are collected from Thursday to Saturday.

Like the official NBA voting at the end of the season, voters were asked to submit a five-player ballot and the results were tabulated using the league’s scoring system: 10 points for each votes for first place, followed by 7 points for second place, five points for third, three points for fourth and one point for fifth.

Jokic took the lead with 62 votes in first place and a total of 860 points, followed by Embiid, who had 29 first-place votes and 719 total points, and Antetokounmpo, who had nine first-place votes and 593 total score . They were the only players whose names were on all 100 ballots and the only ones who received votes in first place.

Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo have separated themselves from the field so clearly that they won 291 out of 300 votes for first, second and third places in the poll. (Antetokounmpo had six votes in fourth place, and Jokic had three votes in fifth.) No other players were named even with half the votes.

Following the three unanimous picks was Memphis Grizzlies defender Ja Morant, who finished with a total of 103 and received one of only two votes in second place credited to someone other than Jokic, Embiid or Antetokounmpo. (Phoenix Suns keeper Devin Booker takes the other.) Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is fifth with 93 points, Dallas Mavericks keeper Luka Doncic is sixth with 87 and Booker is seventh with 82 Morant, Tatum, and Booker were the only players to receive third-place voting in addition to the top three finishers.

After leading the first edition of this season’s poll, Golden State Warriors keeper Stephen Curry is eighth with 34 points, followed by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (13) and Suns guard Chris Paul (seven).

James, the NBA’s current score leader, who did not receive a single vote in either of the first two polls, received one vote in fourth place and two votes in second. fifth to 11th with five points, followed by Chicago Bulls keeper DeMar DeRozan and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.

Aside from James entering the finals, the focus remains on the upper end of the ballot, where Jokic once again gained a slight advantage heading into the final weeks of the season after he and Embiid fell in love. deadly heat six weeks ago.

Basically, the difference this time is that Jokic takes the 16 votes in the first place that Embiid did in the previous poll and gets back the five he missed in that round of voting.

Over there To be There’s still more uncertainty in this race than usual for this time of year. Many voters emphasized how difficult it was for them to choose their path, both in terms of the top three finishers and the fourth and fifth places.

And while the leader in this final edition of the straw poll has gone on to win the MVP award of the tournament that has been running for the past four years, there’s reason to believe Jokic still has a lot of work to do. to officially win consecutive awards.

This year’s poll closely mirrors the 2017 race, the first year this straw poll was conducted. In the final vote of that year, then-Houston Rockets guard James Harden gave a similarly narrow lead over then Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook with a few weeks left, only to Westbrook won the MVP by becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average triple for a season.

Given how brief the races in both games were, where Jokic and Embiid finished on the leaderboard likely played a role.

Jokic’s Nuggets are in sixth place in the Western Conference, two games ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves in seventh and half behind the Utah Jazz in fifth. All three who voted Jokic in fifth place mark his team’s place in the rankings as a contributing factor.

In the Eastern Conference, Embiid’s 76ers and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks are on the rosters of the last four teams, with both games behind the Miami Heat’s No.

Jokic is averaging 26.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game, placing 12th, second and eighth respectively, and the only player in the top 12 in all three divisions. item. Embiid is averaging 29.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists, as he becomes the first center to lead the NBA in scoring since O’Neal in 2000. Antetokounmpo is scoring averaging 29.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

All three excelled in overcoming the challenge. Jokic played the entire season alongside the team’s two other max players – Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr – either not playing or missing significant time. Embiid had to lead the 76ers through the rollercoaster that was commercial story Ben Simmons, while Antetokounmpo navigated Milwaukee through a series of traumas for key contributors, most notably center Brook Lopez.

Uncertainty at the top of the ballot is also likely to shrink the roster: The Grizzlies announced Thursday that Morant will miss most of the final two weeks of the season because of knee pain.

Tatum and Doncic, meanwhile, have been two of the hottest players on two of the hottest teams in the league over the past few months, while Booker has received plenty of support for the way he’s led. led the Suns while Paul sat outside. a month due to a thumb injury before he returned last weekend. All three were able to easily overtake Morant at the end.

It all sets up a frenetic end to the regular season, with plenty to play with – on both a team and individual level. NBA MVP Poll – Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and the race position when the season is two weeks away

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