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Nikola Jokic leads MVP race in ESPN poll after Joel Embiid's injury

Posted : 14 February 2024

A week ago, the prevailing sentiment in the NBA was that Joel Embiid would secure a second consecutive regular-season MVP title. However, a significant injury has sidelined the Philadelphia center, altering the landscape.


The introduction of a new rule, preventing a player from contending for the MVP if they miss 18 or more games, has effectively removed Embiid from the race. With uncertainty about his return, ESPN conducted a poll, mirroring the end-of-season MVP voting, and the results overwhelmingly favor Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.


Nikola Jokic, often referred to as "The Joker," stands as the frontrunner by a considerable margin. The Serbian, who previously secured MVP honors in 2021 and 2022, garnered 69 first-place votes out of 100, with all respondents placing him in their top five.


Jokic amassed a total of 889 points, establishing a lead of 180 points over the second-place contender, Shaye Gilgeous-Alexander, who has been a notable surprise performer in the season.


Shaye Gilgeous-Alexander, representing the Oklahoma City Thunder, emerged as a significant revelation, securing 24 first-place votes and a total of 709 points. He is placed second in the poll, showcasing the impact he has made during the season.


In third place is Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP himself, with 391 points, followed by Luka Doncic in fourth with 260 points, although both trail the top two by a considerable margin.


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