NBA MVP: Embiid leads by a long distance, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s current position is worrying

Embiid has substantial lead in season’s first NBA MVP straw poll
Embiid has substantial lead in season’s first NBA MVP straw poll originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The majority of voters in ESPN’s first straw poll of the 2023-24 NBA season agree that Joel Embiid has again played like an MVP.

In ESPN’s Tim Bontemps’ informal poll, which surveys 100 media members from across the league, Embiid received 63 first-place votes and 27 second-place votes.

NBA Round-Up - Embiid scores 35 in dominant effort as NBA 76ers beat  Portland | beIN SPORTS

Overall, Embiid finished with 848 total points.

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Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic got 21 first-place votes and was second with 630 points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks | NBA.com

Giannis Antetokounmpo (352 points),

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (340)

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and Luka Doncic (306) rounded out the top five.

Though all those players are extraordinary, it’s hard to imagine a strong, substantive early-season case against Embiid repeating as MVP. He’s had dominant performances lately against teams well below .500 like the Hornets and Pistons, but he’s also sat the entire fourth quarter of many Sixers blowouts. All told, Embiid has posted 35.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest.

Through his first 24 games, Embiid has played 819 minutes and scored 843 points. The Sixers, who sit third in the Eastern Conference standings, have gone 19-5 with Embiid and 0-3 without him.

At 19-10, Jokic’s Nuggets are third in the West. He’s averaged 26.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.3 assists.

As always, this season’s Embiid vs. Jokic meetings should be worth watching. The Sixers and Nuggets’ two matchups are both next month — Jan. 16 in Philadelphia and Jan. 27 in Denver.

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