Joel Embiid overtakes Nikola Jokic in a historically close final NBA MVP Straw Poll with just six games left in the regular season
In ESPN’s final release of the NBA MVP Straw Poll, Joel Embiid has overtaken two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic with just six games left in the 2022-23 regular season.
Embiid has managed to edge Jokic in total points, 790 to 788.
The NBA Straw Poll
For those unfamiliar, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps has made a name for himself by tracking MVP voting closely throughout the season and annually posts a final poll towards the end of March to highlight where the race is likely to finish.
The straw poll of media members from 28 different markets is designed to perfectly mirror the voting process of the real ballots. This final “NBA MVP Straw Poll” has been going since 2017 and has correctly predicted the MVP winner every season outside of its first year.
How the NBA MVP Straw Poll Works
To gauge where the MVP race stands with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, ESPN asked 100 media members to participate in an informal poll that mimics the NBA’s postseason award voting process.
To make the balloting as realistic as possible, there were at least two voters from each of the league’s 28 markets, along with a cross section of national and international reporters.
As with the NBA’s official voting at the end of season, voters were asked to submit a five-player ballot, and results were tabulated using the league’s scoring system:
- 10 points for a first-place vote
- 7 points for second-place
- 5 points for third-place
- 3 points for fourth-place
- 1 point for fifth-place
The Final Straw Poll Results
Embiid managed to overtake Jokic while still receiving less first place votes thanks to the second place ballots (45) which were six more than Jokic. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo took the remaining 18 first-place votes.
In the first Straw Poll of the season back in December, Jayson Tatum led voting with 92 total points. From there, it has been all Jokic. The two-time reigning MVP claimed 77 of the 100 first-place votes just before the All-Star break while Giannis finished in second with 11-first place votes.
Embiid, who wasn’t even named an All-Star starter at the time, finished in third place with six first-place votes.
This award was unsurprisingly Nikola Jokic’s to lose. He was on cruise control and basically cemented into winning his third-straight MVP Award, something Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell have done.
The Philadelphia 76ers cruised through a rough March schedule and won eight straight games in the NBA’s hardest post-All-Star schedule, while Denver lost four straight games and five out of six at the beginning of March.
That stretch started to change the narrative of who would be crowned the league’s most valuable player at the end of the regular season.
Joel Embiid leads the league in scoring at 33.2 points per game for the second straight season to go along with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assist per game. The Sixers should easily lock up the Number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with only six games remaining on the schedule.
Look, to be honest, the poll is too close for my liking but maybe we have just been burned too many times in the past to trust these NBA Beat Writers to do the correct thing by crowning Embiid the NBA MVP.
If the straw poll is any indication, which it typically is, then Embiid is set to take home the league’s most coveted NBA regular season award for the first time since Allen Iverson did it in a Sixers uniform 20+ years ago.