Where does Joel Embiid fare in 2023 NBA MVP race?
The NBA Playoffs are within sight and the 2023 NBA MVP race is coming to a close. Well, that was the case prior to Joel Embiid’s dominant 52-point outing against the Celtics which has all but sealed the deal.
NBA MVP Odds: Joel Embiid asserts his dominance
Joel Embiid is now the runaway favorite in the MVP race
Joel Embiid was tied with Luka Doncic at +500 before the 2023 season started. A late-season surge from the Cameroonian saw the two bigs draw neck and neck before last night’s nail in the coffin.
On a night where Jokic was held to just 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Rockets where the 2x winner turned it over 8 times, Embiid stepped up. The timing of his shots proved pivotal in what was a must-win game. The Center put the Sixers on his back in the fourth quarter and willed them to a win.
The spectacle marked Joel Embiid’s third 50-point game of the 2022-23 season after dropping 53 on Charlotte (12/11) and 59 on Utah (11/13). The latter was when he flirted with what could have been the first quadruple-double in NBA history: 59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 blocks. For Embiid, that one remains the pinnacle.
As for Jokic and the Nuggets, they are still dominating the Western Conference, with the formeer MVP at the heart and soul of that charge. Averaging a 24-point triple-double is genuinely stunning and leaves Joel Embiid needing to perform at a ridiculous level to even have a chance of winning the award. The good news is, he’s done all that and then some in a much tougher conference where their more impressive win record is only good enough for 3rd…for now.
Joel Embiid has answered the call. While he isn’t assisting as much as Jokic, his scoring is scary, his defense is somehow scarier, and he’s clearly taken the lack of MVP respect personally.
When the two bigs clashed in January, it was Embiid & the Sixers who left with their heads held high. Joel put up 47 points and 18 rebounds in the win.
If the time of Embiid being the NBA MVP is coming, then there may be no better time to back him. His odds will only shorten as the chip on his shoulder grows and his dominance hits new heights. We said this a week ago when he was -150. The odds are already -700.
The Sixers are well-placed to make a playoff run, but can Embiid really guide them to being the top-seeded team in the East?
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AP Photo/Matt Slocum