The NBA MVP award for the 2022-23 season will be announced on Tuesday. Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are the three finalists, with Embiid leading the race as the current favorite. If Jokic wins, he would be the first player to win three consecutive MVP awards since Boston’s Larry Bird in the 1980s. Zach Lowe’s official MVP ballot puts Embiid as the top pick, followed by Jokic and Antetokounmpo.
Despite the top three players posting all-time seasons, Antetokounmpo has a clean case to win, being the best defender among the finalists. But having appeared in fewer games and suffering a drop-off in shooting, Antetokounmpo is at a disadvantage compared to the other nominees. Embiid overtook Jokic in total points for MVP, while Jokic had more first-place votes; however, Embiid’s second-place position on 45 ballots gave him an edge over Jokic.
The NBA MVP Straw Poll 3.0 indicates that the race for the MVP award is one of the closest in league history. Embiid’s victory over Jokic has made the decision tougher for voters, with Antetokounmpo looming within striking distance as the best player on the team with the most wins. In the end, the decision will likely come down to splitting hairs, with minutes playing a significant role in tipping the scales.