It happened once again. For the second year in a row, Philadelphia 76ers‘ star Joel Embiid put in another career-best year, and for the second year in a row, the voters picked Nikola Jokic as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Not to take anything away from the year Jokic had, but there was clearly a more deserving player to win the MVP award.
Jokic had a great season, and with both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. out for most of the year, Jokic had a lot on his back. However, he was not the only big man who had to shoulder the load for his team. Joel Embiid’s co-star of 4 years, Ben Simmons, outright refused to play this entire season. Tobias Harris, Embiid’s other co-star, played the first half of the season as the Sixers’ second option, and with the role, his efficiency diminished.
Other role-players also had down years, meaning now more than ever, Joel had to carry the Sixers. Without Joel, the Sixers went 6-8. For the Sixers, Joel carried the Sixers to a respectable 4th seed and playoff series victory, while Jokic couldn’t elevate his Nuggets past the 6th seed or to a playoff series win.
In terms of counting stats, Embiid had a phenomenal year. Not only did Embiid lead the entire league in scoring at 30.6 points per game, he was the first center to lead the league in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal did it over two decades ago. On top of his elite scoring, he was still very good in terms of rebounds (11.7) and assists (4.2) per game.
Embiid was also a defensive centerpiece for the 76ers this season, averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Without Embiid, the Sixers carried a defensive rating of 115.1, which would place the Sixers as the 4th worst defensive team in the NBA, but with Embiid, the Sixers carry a defensive rating of 111.1, tying the Sixers with Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks for the 14th best defensive rating in the league.
Embiid’s level of dominance this season is completely unparalleled. Joel led the league in games with 40+ points and 10+ rebounds. Embiid also had a 23-game stretch where he scored 25 or more points in every game from December 26th to February 12th. Fans who watch Embiid know that he is the MVP and the players in the league also know who the MVP is, with superstars like Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets openly endorsing Embiid for MVP. The only reason that Jokic is the MVP and Embiid isn’t is because of politics.
The MVP voting is flawed. In reality, the only way to fix MVP voting would be to have the players vote for MVP, for the simple fact that they’ll know who is the most dominant player and understand what it takes to lead a team better than any media member does. In the hearts of every Sixer fan, Joel Embiid is the MVP, but he, unfortunately, doesn’t get the hardware to validate his elite level of play this season. It’s a real shame that the only reason he won’t is that they hate The Process.