Where does Jayson Tatum rank in latest ESPN MVP straw poll?

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps has released the latest results from his mid-season assessment of the NBA MVP race, a 100-person straw poll that mimics the pool of would-be voters for the award. In year’s past, this has served as a useful snapshot for evaluating the state of the MVP race, although certainly things can change between now and the end of the season.

Four members of the Boston Celtics have won NBA MVP honors in the franchise’s history, and superstar Jayson Tatum looks like the best candidate to join Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens, and Larry Bird in raising the trophy wearing Celtics green. According to the latest straw poll data, however, Tatum is a long-shot to win the award this season.

Two-time MVP and reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets leads the way at present. Shai Gilgeous-Aexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder is in second place, and received a handful of first place votes. This time last year Jokic was in second in the race before pulling away and winning the award. Tatum, for now, is sixth in the MVP straw poll.

Apart from Jokic and Gilgeous-Aexander, Tatum trails Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers in the voting.

A few players, most notably Joel Embiid, have already been disqualified thanks to a new rule requiring eligible candidates to play in at least 65 games. This could become a problem down the line for a few of the guys currently ahead of Tatum in the rankings.

Last season Tatum came in fourth in the actual MVP vote. At the time of this writing, Tatum and the Celtics have the best record in the NBA. A regular season MVP for Tatum seems unlikely. But as folks in Boston know, anything is possible.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire