Embiid, Jokic Said To Be Leading In NBA MVP Battle

Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid
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After Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid battled for the right to be named the NBA's Most Valuable Player all last season, it appears this year's chase for the award could once again come down to the two All-Star big men.

Embiid, after coming in second to Jokic in last year's voting, holds a 35-point lead over the Denver Nuggets' reigning MVP in the second edition of ESPN's NBA MVP Straw Poll for the 2021-22 season. Embiid's razor-thin edge is the closest the top two spots have been over the nine iterations of this poll over the past six seasons.

The Philadelphia 76ers center, who had 45 first-place votes and finished with 789 total points, was the only player selected to all 100 ballots submitted. Jokic, meanwhile, finished with 43 first-place votes and had 754 points -- while being left off of five ballots completely.

Had Jokic simply been in second place on each of those five ballots, the two superstar centers would've been in a tie.

To gauge where the race stands with less than two months remaining in the regular season, ESPN asked 100 media members to participate in an informal poll that mimics the postseason awards voting. To make the balloting as realistic as possible, there were at least two voters from each of the league's 28 markets, as well as a cross-section of national and international reporters. Votes were collected between Sunday and Tuesday. Read more.

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