In the latest MVP straw poll, compiled by ESPN, Tim Bontemps revealed that Joel Embiid ranks tenth overall.
New ESPN story: The Straw Poll is back — and there is a narrow leader in the race for The Michael Jordan Trophy. https://t.co/C3oNlqcX8h— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 16, 2022
The poll was conducted between Sunday, Dec. 11th, and Tuesday, Dec. 13th. And the top vote getter is Celtics forward Jayson Tatum... the guy the Sixers could have just drafted first overall back in 2017 if they’d wanted to.
With 22 total points and zero first place votes, Joel Embiid grades behind Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Zion Williamson, in order.
Embiid has played in 19 of the team’s 27 games and the Sixers are 10-9 in those contests. They’re 15-12 overall, 5th place in the East. You can guess that Joel, averaging a career best 33.3 points and 4.7 assists, to go with 9.7 boards, and 1.6 blocks, while anchoring the third rated defense, has been “dinged” in the vote for his availability once again. Players like Devin Booker have appeared in 27 games, and the Suns are 17-10 in those games. They’re 0-2 without him. Philadelphia is actually 5-3 without Embiid.
While Embiid has improved in this regard limiting risk, he still often plays in a way that exposes himself to injury a bit more than other top stars, and that has cost him in these areas before.
But yeesh. I never feel great about this MVP vote when a guy whose a clear cut top five player finishes that far out. Embiid on a per game basis, has arguably been a better player overall than even Jayson Tatum, whose in first place here. But Tatum is on a better team with more (healthy) help and Boston looks like the best team in the sport. So he justifiably leaves a perhaps superior talent like Joel in the dust here sadly. But what if we just called this the best player award? Where would Joel rank? What if we were drafting players for a 16 team playoff on random teams, he certainly wouldn’t get picked 10th.
If he can stay healthy, while fighting and scrapping for regular season wins while his co-stars are out, (Maxey oh Maxey, where far art thou Maxey?) we may get to see him reinsert himself into the top of this race. But for now, it’s clear, they still hate the Process!