Nikola Jokic Tops MVP Voting In Latest ESPN Straw Poll

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA MVP debate has been long discussed this season and while it is a matter of opinion on who you ask, we may finally have a clearer answer on to what the future holds in terms of this season’s MVP voting. 

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps conducts a yearly NBA MVP straw poll update where he polls 100 different media members from every NBA market to get their votes on the MVP race. Over the last four seasons, the leader of the final poll has gone on to win the MVP award. 

In his final straw poll released on Tuesday, Nuggets’ center Nikola Jokic topped 76ers’ center Joel Embiid for the most first-place votes and by a wide-margin. 

Receiving 62 of the 100 first-place votes, and beating out Embiid 860-719 in total voting points, Nikola Jokic was the clear-cut choice for MVP in these 100 voters’ minds.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Shannon Sharpe Makes Bold Statement About Devin Booker’s MVP Candidacy

The Nuggets have struggled this season at times due to key injuries to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray, but they remain 45-31 on the season and the 6-seed in the Western Conference solely because of Nikola Jokic and his dominance on the court. 

Averaging 26.3 points, 13.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.4 steals and shooting 57.6% from the floor, Jokic is having arguably a better year than he did a season ago when he won MVP. 

He has single-handedly kept the Nuggets in the playoff hunt this season and leading the league in triple-doubles (19), Nikola Jokic is one of the most dominant offensive players in the entire league. 

In the Eastern Conference, much of the same can be said about Joel Embiid with the Philadelphia 76ers. Currently one game out of first-place in the East and tied with the likes of the Celtics and Bucks, the Sixers have a chance to claim the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs for the second straight season.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Shannon Sharpe Makes Bold Statement About Devin Booker’s MVP Candidacy

While they have James Harden now, the story in Philadelphia all year long has been about Joel Embiid’s dominance in the paint and his ability to possibly be the first center since Shaquille O’Neal during the 1999-00 season to lead the league in scoring.

On the year, Joel Embiid has averaged 29.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals and has shot 48.9% from the floor. Leading the league in 30-point games (35), 40-point games (10), 30-point double-doubles (25) and 40-point double-doubles (10), Embiid has been a monster on the offensive-end of the floor. 

It is a little surprising to see Jokic receive almost two-thirds of the first-place votes for MVP in this straw poll, but this race for MVP is a lot closer between Jokic and Embiid than many think. 

You really cannot go wrong with either player winning the award this season and while others are definitely deserving to be in the conversation for MVP, this is really a two-man race heading into the final week or two of the regular season. 

LATEST NBA NEWS: Shannon Sharpe Makes Bold Statement About Devin Booker’s MVP Candidacy

Other than Nikola Jokic receiving five fifth-place votes in this straw poll, perhaps the most surprising results lie outside of Jokic and Embiid. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo came in third in the voting, receiving 30 second-place votes and 55 third-place votes and flying under-the-radar this season in terms of being a true MVP-caliber talent, Ja Morant finished fourth in the voting, receiving mainly fourth and fifth-place votes, but also receiving one vote for second-place and two votes for third-place in the MVP voting. 

Ja Morant and the Grizzlies have had a stellar season and currently 53-23, they are more than likely going to be the 2-seed in the Western Conference just one year after having to earn the 8-seed via the play-in tournament. 

The improvements this young Memphis team has made are quite remarkable and not only does head coach Taylor Jenkins deserve consideration for Coach of the Year, but Ja Morant undoubtedly deserves recognition in the MVP voting and possibly even the All-NBA First or Second Team this year. 

LATEST NBA NEWS: Shannon Sharpe Makes Bold Statement About Devin Booker’s MVP Candidacy

Again, the MVP race this season seems to be a two-man race between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid heading into the final few games of the regular season, but it is also worth mentioning the attention Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker have received as well. 

Both Tatum and Booker are two younger stars in the league today that have been having remarkable seasons for the Celtics and Suns, respectively. 

The Celtics are just one game out of first-place in the Eastern Conference after looking like a team that would barely make the play-in tournament early on in the season and the Suns currently hold the league’s best record at 61-14, chasing their franchise-record of 62 wins in a season. 

In Bontemps’ straw poll, Tatum finished fifth in the voting, receiving two third-place votes, and Booker finished seventh in the voting, receiving three third-place votes and one second-place vote. 

LATEST NBA NEWS: Shannon Sharpe Makes Bold Statement About Devin Booker’s MVP Candidacy

Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid both have a chance to write their names in NBA history for their team’s down the stretch run of the regular season. With very limited games left to play, it is almost like flipping a coin to pick the winner of this year’s MVP race!

Kyle Lowry Back In Philly: 76ers Build Depth For Title Ambitions

The Philadelphia 76ers are essentially going all in this NBA season. Since the process began with Joel Embiid, the team has yet to reap its

Ja Morant’s Return Ignites Hope for Resurgent Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies were the premier young team in the NBA. After back-to-back competitive showings in the playoffs, their future was as bright as ever.

Milwaukee Bucks Star Recovering From Multiple Surgeries

There have been a lot of NBA rumors this offseason about how the Milwaukee Bucks were going to upgrade their roster. After a disappointing first-round