NBA media poll: Joel Embiid is the current MVP favorite ahead of LeBron James

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Michael Scotto
·4 min read
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Two months into the NBA season, we’ve seen a ton of parity throughout the league – not just in the standings but in the Most Valuable Player race as well.

In our January media MVP poll, Kevin Durant took the top spot. Now, he doesn’t rank in the Top 5 according to the same media members.

So who’s standing out through February? HoopsHype anonymously polled 15 media members who voted on last year’s awards to find out.

As with the official vote, the top player received 10 points, the second received seven points, the third received five points, the fourth received three points, and the fifth player received one point for each ballot.

1. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia)

Share of the vote: 80.7 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 4 Embiid has led the 76ers to the best record in the East. The 26-year-old center ranks second in free throws made (260), free throw attempts (304) and player efficiency rating (30.7), third in points per game (29.8), usage percentage (33.8) and win shares (4.9). In 10 February games thus far, Embiid has taken his game to another level averaging 32.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game with a 36.6 usage percentage. He also became the first Sixers player with a 50-point game since Allen Iverson in 2005 and the first Sixer with at least 50 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in a game since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968. https://twitter.com/MikeAScotto/status/1362971085357133829

2. LeBron James (LA Lakers)

Share of the vote: 73.3 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 2 James remains a dynamic offensive threat as a scorer and passer. The 36-year-old forward ranks fifth in field goals made (309) and assists (259). James has also been efficient on the defensive end ranking second in defensive win shares (2.1) and fifth in defensive rating (104.8). As noted by teammate Jared Dudley, James has been there for his teammates logging the fourth-most minutes thus far (1120) even at his advanced age. https://twitter.com/MikeAScotto/status/1364030939786051589

3. Nikola Jokic (Denver)

Share of the vote: 34.0 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 3 Denver has underwhelmed thus far as the West’s seventh seed, but don’t blame Jokic for that. The Joker, who recently turned 26, is a nightly triple-double threat entering the prime of his career. Jokic is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average 25 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists while shooting 55 percent from the field in a season.

4. Damian Lillard (Portland)

Share of the vote: 33.3 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 8 Lillard was recently named Western Conference Player of the Week and has carried the Trail Blazers to the fifth seed while CJ McCollum remains sidelined. https://twitter.com/MikeAScotto/status/1363950337485373445 Over the past week, Suns coach Monty Williams said Lillard is “arguably the MVP right now” and Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he has the best point guard in the game.

5. Stephen Curry (Golden State)

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Share of the vote: 15.3 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 6 Curry has put up numbers similar to his 2015-16 MVP season. He leads the league in three-pointers made (158) and total points scored (935), which is even more impressive considering he hasn’t had his Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, next to him in the backcourt all season. Below are the remaining players who received votes from the 15 media members for their top five MVP selections.

6. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn)

Share of the vote: 12.7 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 1

7. James Harden (Brooklyn)

Share of the vote: 4.0 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: Not ranked

7. Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers)

Share of the vote: 4.0 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 10

9. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)

Share of the vote: 2.7 percent of maximum amount possible January MVP ranking: No. 9 You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto

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