Despite a monster season, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will not be taking home his first MVP trophy this year.
For a second consecutive season, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic will capture the top honor in the NBA, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The official results of the voting is expected to be announced this week.
While Embiid has not spoken publicly yet about what will be another large disappointment following his runner-up finish a year ago, Mike Singer of the Denver Post gave some insight, citing sources close to the Sixers big man.
Was told yesterday that those around the Sixers knew the news was coming. Obviously, Joel wasn’t thrilled.
Embiid Had Claim to MVP After Stellar Season
Embiid is currently battling through a right orbital fracture he suffered in the first round and has managed to lead the Sixers back from a 2-0 deficit against the Heat.
Embiid had the best season of his career, finishing as the league scoring champ with 30.6 points, adding 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. His Sixers finished 51-31.
Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.5 steals, pushing the Nuggets into the postseason despite key injuries. The Nuggets were 48-34, good for sixth place in the West.
Many feel that Embiid was robbed of his first MVP, including Skip Bayless of Fox Sports.
“Right now Joel Embiid is the best player on the floor,” Bayless said on Undisputed. “They just announced predictably that Jokic won the MVP — everybody knew that was going to happen just on statistics alone — but, this is just me, that guy I’m seeing, that 7-foot monster, 7-foot-2 monster, whatever he is, Joel Embiid … he’s having such an impact on this game, I think he’s in position to remake his case at the best player on the planet.”
While Embiid is surely disappointed, he’s been clear that he is a big fan of what Jokic can do on the court.
“He’s an amazing player,” Embiid said of Jokic in March. “He’s a monster. … What he’s able to do on a basketball floor, it’s crazy. From big man to big man, I’m happy. When you look at who’s dominating the league and who the best players are, it’s really all big men, whether it’s Giannis; Jokic; (Kevin Durant’s) not a big, but he’s also 7 feet. And it’s also foreign guys. Foreign guys are really taking over — Luka (Doncic). It’s great for us.”
Embiid Focused on Task at Hand With Sixers
Awards are great but Embiid still has the Sixers in firm contention to win the title. After falling behind 2-0 in his absence, the series is knotted up with the Heat as things shift back to Miami this week.
Embiid’s focus will be on presenting a stiffer challenge on the defensive end for Miami, most notably his old buddy Jimmy Butler.
“That was on me,” said Embiid. “In the second half, I wasn’t as dominant defensively as I was in the first. Next game, I’m definitely going to be better. We’re making it too easy for him.”
Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday in Miami.