Sixers’ Joel Embiid wins 2022-23 Kia Most Valuable Player award

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after the 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been named the 2022-23 KIA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced prior to Game 2 between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. He becomes the fifth Sixer to win the award, the first since Allen Iverson in 2000-01.

The Sixers’ star received 915 points, including 73 first-place votes out of a possible 100 votes. The voters are comprised of 100 writers, journalists, and broadcasters from around the United States and Canada.

Embiid was named an All-Star for his sixth consecutive season, though he was controversially not voted in as a starter. He was also named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month three times (December, January, March/April) and the Eastern Conference Player of the Week four times (Nov. 14, Dec. 12, March 23, and March 30).

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

In a season that could only be described as dominant, Joel Embiid led the league in scoring for the second consecutive season with a career-high 33.1 points per game, along with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists. His points-per-game average is the highest by a center since Bob McAdoo, back during the 1983-84 NBA season, which was also the last time a center led the league in scoring during consecutive seasons.

After placing second in MVP voting for back-to-back seasons, Joel Embiid finally has his moment, his time to be recognized as the greatest in the league, if at least for the 2022-23 season.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, dribbles the ball as Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Much of the season had been riddled with negative discourse surrounding the three primary candidates. Ridiculous claims that Joel Embiid was undeserving due to the number of free throws he attempted or that Nikola Jokic was nothing more than a stat padder. Then there was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who seemed far too often forgotten despite proving worthy of mention.

Instead of the conversation focusing on why each candidate was deserving, fans, media members, and even former players chose to focus on protecting agendas or creating narratives to defend their positions. This was not some one-sided endeavor either, as impassioned persons from all camps were guilty.

Years from now, this discourse will hopefully fade from memory, and this season will be remembered for the incredible season that it was for Joel Embiid. One that saw him impress with jaw-dropping ability, and historic levels of scoring, all while leading a Sixers team that aims to be one of the top contenders for the NBA Championship this season.