Joel Embiid vs. Nikola Jokic: Early MVP Voting Looks Shockingly Biased

Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid

Getty Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are the two front-runners for NBA MVP honors this season.

The first deadline for basketball writers to get their ballots in for NBA MVP was April 11. That means the votes are slowly trickling in and leaking out to the media. Reddit user u/texasalaskamontana has compiled a nice spreadsheet to track the results, and they don’t look good for Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

Nikola Jokic has garnered 18 first-place votes to just 5 for Embiid so far. Granted, there are only 26 total ballots (out of 101) included in that tally. Giannis Antetokounmpo has 3 first-place votes while Luka Doncic and Devin Booker received no first-place votes. Here are some notable national writers who picked Jokic over Embiid: Zach Lowe, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Kevin O’Connor, Mike Greenberg.

Let’s hear it for Kendrick Perkins who has been in Embiid’s corner from the jump. He voted for the Sixers star as did Brian Windhorst, Stephen A. Smith, and Greg Anthony.

Perkins explained why on ESPN: “I’m going with Joel Embiid. Look me and my boy Legs [Tim Legler] had a back and forth about the Olajuwon comparison, but I’m going past that. When you talk about today in today’s game, when you talk about skill sets, zero flaws on the offensive end, it’s Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid and everyone else. It’s nothing that this man can’t do to take you on the low block … I’m going with Joel Embiid.”

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Embiid Nabs Eastern Conference Player of the Week

Embiid was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played between Monday, April 4 and Sunday, April 10. It marked his seventh career Player of the Week selection and his second of the 2021-22 season. The 7-footer averaged 38.7 points and 14.3 rebounds per game for the week while shooting 60.9% from the floor.

He also extended his streak of 25-point, 10-rebound outings to 10 straight contests. Embiid won the NBA scoring title after finishing the regular season with 2,079 total points. He became the first center to lead the NBA in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 1999-2000. Yes, Embiid should win MVP and he let that be known in his own words.

“If [winning MVP] happens, great,” Embiid said. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”

Tyrese Maxey Up for Most Improved Player

Don’t forget about Tyrese Maxey and his sensational 2021-22 campaign for the Sixers. The second-year guard set career highs in nearly every statistical category, including points (17.5), minutes (35.3), field-goal percentage (48.5%), three-point percentage (42.7%), assists (4.3), and rebounds (3.2). Maxey is on the shortlist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player along with Jordan Poole (Golden State) and Ja Morant (Memphis). That should be another extremely close race.

“From where he’s started last year, his growth is really good to see, and I’ve told him that before,” Pistons head coach Duane Casey said of Maxey. “I’m really proud of the way he’s grown, he played well last year, he’s quick on quick, and he’s creating a scoring personality off of James and off of Embiid.”

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