Joel Embiid solidifies himself as MVP after dominant performance over Nikola Jokic
The much-anticipated duel between the top candidates for the NBA’s MVP award didn’t disappoint last night.
Before we dive into how Embiid managed to gain the edge on Jokic last night, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the greatness of these two big men. It’s infrequent, especially in this era of basketball, for two centers to be the favorites for MVP. Both bring two different skillsets. Only one can win the award, however.
Joel Embiid scored 34 points with nine rebounds and four assists, while Jokic posted 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Embiid not only scored 12 more points than Jokic but dominated the one-on-one matchup on national TV.
Embiid made it a point to go at Jokic. While both players are great at what they do, it was evident that Jokic couldn’t hang with Embiid on both ends of the court. Embiid’s MVP skillset was on full display last night, most notably when Jokic was matched up on him.
In a four-point win for the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic had a -9 +/-. In a four-point loss for the Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid had a +2 +/-. Jokic did more for his team to lose that game than win. As a matter of fact, Bones Highland scored 21 points off the bench. He was the best player on the floor for the Nuggets last night. Jokic certainly did some good things, but he struggled against Embiid. A large majority of his scoring came against the Sixers’ backup center.
I’m sure there will be plenty of people who only factor in team success into the MVP award. Those are the worst types of people, by the way. If that was the case, Embiid should have gotten the award last year since the Sixers had the #1 seed in the East.
Sorry to break it to you, but the MVP is an individual award. Therefore, individual statistics are a more significant factor in winning the award. A perfect example is when Russell Westbrook won it when he averaged a triple-double.
To conclude, I mean no disrespect to Jokic. I think he’s an awesome player. It’s rather funny how much media-driven this Embiid vs. Jokic thing has become. Both players seem to like and respect each other very much. I just think when you lead the NBA in scoring and are an all-defensive team candidate, you should probably win the award.
Not to mention the Sixers being a top 3 seed, while the Nuggets are sixth in the West.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today