2022-23 NBA MVP Race: Can Joel Embiid overtake Nikola Jokic?

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There are less than 20 games left in the season, which means the regular season MVP voting is fast approaching.

In the eyes of most, the award is the defending MVP’s to lose, but this week, our own Melissa Rohlin rocked FOX Sports’ MVP Meter.

Let’s see their ranking below:

1. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: 33.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.1 APG
FOX Bet MVP Odds: +500

Embiid is tied for first in the league in scoring, averaging a career-high 33.3 points per game. But what really separates Embiid is his defense. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league right now.

Last week, the 76ers snapped the 16-game winning streak of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks after Embiid hit a 3-pointer with 41.4 seconds left, finishing with 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Embiid also led the 76ers to a win over Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets on Jan. 28, finishing with 47 points and 18 rebounds in that game. He’s been huge in games against other MVP candidates, which is an important measuring stick.

Not to mention Embiid is coming off a 42-point game on 68.8 percent shooting in a win over Indiana on Monday, and dropped 39 and seven in a win at Minnesota on Tuesday without James Harden on the floor. He has put the 76ers on his back this season, leading them to the third-best record in the East (43-22), just four games behind the first-place Bucks.

2. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Stats: 24.4 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 10.0 APG
FOX Bet MVP Odds: -345

The narrative that Jokic is a stat stuffer doesn’t ring true to me. He seems to care more about his horses than prizes. But in my eyes, his most important stat is this: The Nuggets are 24-0 this season whenever they post a triple-double. This indicates that he is doing whatever it takes for his team to win, not focusing on filling the box scores. Jokic has led the Nuggets to the best record in the Western Conference (46-19), including four straight wins and eight wins in their last nine.

Nick Wright joins Colin Cowherd to discuss Nikola Jokić’s odds of winning a third consecutive MVP award

Nick Wright joins Colin Cowherd to discuss Nikola Jokić's odds of winning a third consecutive MVP award

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: 31.2 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 5.5 APG
FOX Bet MVP Odds: +850

In one draft, I wouldn’t be surprised if Antetokounmpo was the first player selected out of all current NBA players. He’s a beast on both ends of the court, and perhaps most importantly, he knows how to win, leading his team to a championship in 2021. He’s capable of being the best player on the court on any given night, and the 16- The streak of wins was impressive. Not to mention, he kept the Bucks on top of the Eastern Conference despite Khris MIddleton missing much of the season. Right now, he’s nursing a sore knee, which is a definite concern for the Bucks, whose success is entirely dependent on his health.

4. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Stats: 30.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 4.8 APG
FOX Bet MVP Odds: +3300

Tatum deserves just as much credit. He led the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals and has transformed into an even better version of himself with this test, ensuring that Boston has been at the top of the league for much of the season. But the Celtics have lost four of their last five games and Tatum’s play hasn’t been as consistent as it has been, even though he had a 40-point, 11-rebound performance against New York on Sunday.

5. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Stats: 33.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 8.0 APG
FOX Bet MVP Odds: +5000

The Mavericks have lost six of their last nine games despite Doncic’s strong play and the team’s recent acquisition of Kyrie Irving. Dallas has dropped to seventh in the West, just two games behind the 12th-place New Orleans Pelicans. But Doncic remains in the top five for many reasons, including his recent 42-point, 12-assist performance in the team’s March 2 win over the 76ers.

Here, in no particular order: Kevin Durant, Domantas Sabonis, Ja Morant. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Damian Lillard, Julius Randle, Donovan Mitchell, James Harden and Bam Adebayo.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.

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