- LeBron James was the MVP in an informal poll conducted by ESPN to simulate the NBA’s MVP voting process.
- James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game this season.
- He is also the oddsmakers’ current favorite to win 2021 MVP honors at +125 via BetOnline.ag.
The NBA’s 2020-21 season is more than one moth old and at this stage of the campaign, things are beginning to shape up. We now have an idea of which teams are in the Top 8 ( or 9 ) in each conference and who the front runner are for the 2021 individual awards.
To gauge where the MVP race stands, ESPN conducted an informal poll among 100 media members to mimic the official NBA MVP voting process. Just as it is with the “real” MVP voting, the media personnel were asked to submit a five-player vote, using the league’s official scoring system: 10, 7, 5, 3, and 1 points for positions 1 to 5. And according to the company, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James won the poll with 54 first place votes while appearing on 99 ballots and amassing a total of 760 votes.
New ESPN story: My first MVP straw poll of 100 voters this season has LeBron James in front, but is the closest vote I’ve had in one yet — foreshadowing what should be a long and interesting race as James chases his fifth MVP award. https://t.co/6UlnJgiWMd
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2021
The Sixers’ Joel Embiid finished second with with 23 first place votes and just 95 points behind James. Denver’s Nikola Jokic came in third, garnering 18 first place votes and a total of 596 points. Despite missing the entire 2019-20 season, Kevin Durant was 4th with 272 points while appearing on 72 ballots while Kawhi Leonard completed the Top 5 with 153 points.
LeBron James +125
Nikola Jokic +400
Joel Embiid +600
Kevin Durant +800
Luka Doncic +900
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1200
Stephen Curry +1200
Damian Lillard +2500
Kawhi Leonard +3300
Anthony Davis +4000
? https://t.co/iPzGpTwhjA pic.twitter.com/yVSEoWFjEn
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) February 9, 2021
Oddsmakers agree with ESPN’s informal poll. According to online Sportsbook BetOnline, James is the +125 odds on favorite to win the 2021 NBA MVP award. Embiid is second in the oddsboard at +400 while Jokic came in third at +600. Preseason favorite Luka Doncic had dropped to 5th at +900 with his Mavs’ struggling to find their form this season.
Behind a better supporting cast and a brand new head coach, Embiid has led the Sixers to the best record in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, Jokic recently set his career-high of 50 points after scoring 47 two games earlier. Jokic was recently named as the Western Conference Player of the Conference for the months of December 2020 and January 2021. Embiid won the same award for the East.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are thriving with James taking the lead as Anthony Davis is dealing with injuries. With LBJ taking charge early, Los Angeles has the second best record in the league at 20-6, just one-half game behind the red hot Utah Jazz. The Lakers have won 14 out of their last 17 games, including their last six.
LeBron Hustling in Year 18
LeBron. HUSTLE. ?
Lakers get the W in OT. pic.twitter.com/sp6Akh3rXT
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 11, 2021
Consistency and longevity are the two main arguments of LeBron James’ greatness and his claim as the GOAT. But more than those, we’ve seen a different energy from him this season, his 18th year in the NBA. Against the Thunder on Wednesday, we saw that with his hustle on the final play, which won the game for the Lakers.
Four games ago, James notched his 96th triple double and passed Wilt Chamberlain for third place in the NBA’s All-Time FG leaderboard as the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 114-93. Since then, L.A. has won three straight OT games with James starring in all three wins.
There’s no question that LeBron James is having one of his best individual seasons in years. He’s averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game. He is also shooting 39.4% from behind the three-point area which is his best mark since the 2012-13 season when well, he won MVP honors.