The NBA MVP race has been one of the more tightly contested battles in recent memory with three well-deserving candidates displaying excellent performances and team success throughout the year.
In Milwaukee resides the Greek Freak, Giannis Antentokounmpo, a two time MVP winner, who very well may be the best player in the league today.
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is chasing his third straight MVP, a mark not seen since Larry Bird in 1986.
Then there’s the 7-footer residing in Philadelphia averaging a historic 33 points per game and protecting the rim on the other end. After finishing second in MVP voting the last two years, Joel Embiid is due. It is time the NBA gives Joel Embiid his respect.
“The MVP race is over. The man just scored half our points, in an NBA game,” says Philadelphia Sixers head coach Doc Rivers after a narrow 103-101 victory against the rival Boston Celtics this past Tuesday night.
During this nationally televised rivalry game, Joel Embiid dominated both ends of the court and totaled 52 points on efficient shooting, scoring half of his team’s total points. This monstrous performance put a bow on what is a historic scoring season from an NBA center with scoring averages not seen since the late great Wilt Chamberlain.
After hearing news of Embiid’s recent 50 point explosion, former teammate and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler said, “Joel’s the MVP. He should’ve been MVP last year too.”
With three games left to go in the regular season, Joel Embiid is averaging 33.3 points, 10.2 boards, 4.2 assists, with a steal and nearly two blocks per game. In addition, Embiid has led the Sixers to a 52-27 record, despite injuries to co-star James Harden, who has missed over 20 games this season.
A common argument against Embiid in recent years is his lack of gametime, but Embiid has now played 65 games this season and has been consistently available to lead the Sixers to success.
The dominance displayed by Joel Embiid this season has been nothing short of phenomenal and is epitomized on the stat sheet. Embiid has now posted 13 40-point games this season and has on 5 separate occasions scored 50 or more points. This includes a 59-point and 7-block outing against the Utah Jazz. In a head to head matchup against the runner-up favorite Nikola Jokic, Embiid eviscerated Jokic totaling 47 points and 18 rebounds in a 126-119 win.
If there are still doubts regarding his MVP case, perhaps voters could look to his 39-point performance against the Trail Blazers in which he had a nothing but net fadeaway game winner.
The Philadelphia Sixers are currently set to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, although a matchup with the Miami Heat remains in play. The Sixers have as good a chance as any to return the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Philadelphia for the first time since Dr. J in 1983. The Sixers are only in this position because of the man in the middle.
Joel Embiid has been this season’s most dominant player as fans in Philly wait to see him continue his domination in this year’s playoffs. But first, Joel Embiid deserves his praise for this past regular season and is worthy to hoist the first Sixers MVP trophy since the Philadelphia icon, Allen Iverson. Embiid is likely to take the scoring title home for the second year in a row, but scoring points has become easy for Embiid as seen this season.
The NBA community is ready to give Embiid his flowers. It is time for the voters to do the same.