Good Morning Dub Nation,
ESPN released the results of their latest MVP straw poll on Thursday, as the league hits the halfway point of the season with this weekend’s NBA All-Star Break. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry placed fourth in the first version of this poll released back in mid-December, however injuries have plagued his season since then — causing him to fall to ninth in the latest version with just a single fifth place vote.
Topping the list is Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic who ESPN has as the favorite to win his third consecutive MVP – something that has only been accomplished by three players in NBA history (Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell).
Not only is Jokic averaging a triple-double — 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists — something only Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook have done over the course of a full season in NBA history, but Denver is also sitting atop the Western Conference with the NBA’s third-best record.
As a result, Jokic was the runaway leader in the second edition of ESPN’s NBA MVP Straw Poll of the 2022-23 season, registering 77 out of 100 first-place votes and finishing with 913 total points, putting him in prime position to make history at season’s end.
Following Jokic in the poll were Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo (11 first-place votes, 552 total points), Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (six first-place votes, 490 total points), Boston Celticsforward Jayson Tatum (five first-place votes, 410 total points) and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (one first-place vote, 218 total points).
Rounding out the poll are Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (8 total points), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (four), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (three), Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (one) and Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (one).
Jokic’s stat-line speaks for itself as he is averaging a triple-double this season with 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists – especially remarkable coming from the center position. From a team perspective, Jokic has led Denver to the number one seed in the West and the number one offensive rating in the league (117.6) heading into the break.
Although voter fatigue usually prevents superstars from winning consecutive MVPs — let alone three in a row – ESPN analyst Jalen Rose points out on The Draymond Green Show that Jokic seems to be on pace to do so anyways with yet another fantastic season.
.@JalenRose tells @Money23Green why there's only one answer for NBA MVP right now pic.twitter.com/T84io9aMIz— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) February 16, 2023
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Should the Warriors target Kevin Love in the buyout market?
- Klay Thompson: ‘I still love our chances to repeat’
- Best bets for final ESPN games before All-Star break
- The Warriors are a ‘middle of the pack team’ entering the All-Star Break
- The 17-4 third-quarter run that spelled doom for the Warriors
Other Warriors News:
- Kawakami: Here comes the last stand of the Warriors dynasty (again) (The Athletic)
- Pistons’ James Wiseman on playing for a new team: ‘I’m going to get it’ (The Athletic)
- Draymond Green sends James Wiseman heartfelt message after Pistons debut (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors ‘godsend’ Kevon Looney fueled by magic of Mikan Drill (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors still have time to make a forgettable season memorable (San Francisco Chronicle)
- NBA MVP Straw Poll 2.0: Nikola Jokic is chasing history — here’s why he might capture it (ESPN)
- All-Star notebook: Key stats on every 2023 All-Star (NBA)
- Marvin Gaye’s iconic NBA All-Star Game national anthem: ‘He turned that thing into his own’ (The Athletic)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo injury update: Bucks star sprains wrist vs. Bulls; Budenholzer says X-ray was ‘clean’ (CBS Sports)
- Kevin Durant says Suns have ‘all the pieces,’ then explains why Nets didn’t work out (Yahoo Sports)
A tweet to end the week:
Because of the injury to Curry, there will be no Warriors representatives participating in the events of All-Star Weekend. Instead, enjoy these highlights from last year’s All-Star Game when Curry won the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award after finishing with 50 points on 16 made three-pointers. Have a good weekend Dub Nation!
16 days until NBA starts!— SplashBrosMuse (@SplashBrosMuse) October 2, 2022
Relive Steph Curry’s insane MVP performance with 16 threes in 2022 All-Star Game ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/jijGorEM2p