Drew Hanlen battles Nuggets Twitter in support of Joel Embiid’s MVP Case
A civil war has broken out yet again across social media. The battle between East and West, good and evil, is in full effect. All thanks to the NBA Deep State and the ESPN MVP Straw Poll that was released earlier today.
As the debate between Embiid and Jokic rages on leading up to the end of season awards, a hero has emerged from the ashes. Drew Hanlen, Embiid’s trainer and protector of the realm is going to WAR on the timeline against the Anti-Embiid agenda.
Hanlen has been going to bat all season for Embiid, backing his trainee on multiple occasions and publicly calling him the MVP throughout the course of the season. Today he found himself entrenched in a battle with Denver Nuggets Twitter and had a lot to say about the matter.
Drew Hanlen: Protector of the Realm
Hanlen started by comparing how the respective teams have performed without their MVP candidates:
It’s hard to argue the numbers here, the Denver Nuggets are performing better WITHOUT Nikola Jokic on the floor. All the analytical nerds will throw advanced metrics at this argument and use made up data to call Jokic the Most Valuable Player in the league, yet one of the more straightforward forms of analytics tells us that the Nuggets are a good team even without Jokic on the floor.
Having a team with a better net rating while a player is off the court seems to be a damning statistic, and should be the opposite of what an MVP does to a team.
Hanlen continued with comparing these players through a thread of tweets starting with this:
His points are undeniable, and Jokic is judged on a completely different level than Embiid. The center position has been redefined by these two players and they are both incredibly talented, but Joel Embiid has taken the skill and scoring ability of a 7+ footer to a level in which we haven’t seen before, and does it at a ridiculously high efficiency.
Many people will look at Jokic’s assists and rebounds and use those numbers as a justification to naming him the MVP, but in reality there is reason to believe a lot of those numbers are empty.
After revealing how many of Jokic’s rebounds are uncontested, Hanlen even compiled a video of assists that counted for Jokic that are nothing more than dribble handoffs or passes to contested jumpers that his teammates happen to make.
Denver’s offense is not only run by Nikola Jokic, but it is designed specifically for him and rightfully so. This is not to take away from his ability as a passer, because he is incredible, but it is just to show how often these numbers can be skewed.
A lot of fans will turn to the assist numbers to make a point, and while Jokic is certainly a much more gifted passer than Embiid, the amount of assists he gets isn’t indicative of him being a better player than Joel.
Finally, Drew Hanlen took a look at the last eight games for Nikola Jokic in terms of his plus-minus:
Aside from the unfortunate win against Philadelphia, Jokic has been questionable during this stretch. If nothing else, this is just a way to prove that any amount of analytics can be used to skew a vantage point one way or another.
Joel Embiid’s Case
In reality, there shouldn’t have to be this strong of a case being made for Joel Embiid as the MVP. Dating back to last season it was his award until he got hurt and missed games. It was literally cited that his absence was one of the main reasons that he didn’t get the award.
The differences this season is that Embiid has been better. He’s averaging more points, missing less games, improving as a passer and dominating defensively. Not to mention that the Nuggets are currently on the fringe of a play-in game while Embiid has the 76ers in the top three seeds of his conference without a co-star for the majority of the season.
The NBA consistently moves the goal posts when it comes to the most valuable player award, and it seems ridiculous to have a race that appears to be this close and giving the award to Jokic for a second season based on essentially nothing other than calling Embiid a “free throw merchant”.
Joel Embiid deserves this award, he has co-signs from a handful of NBA players and he has proved it all season long. It would be disappointing to see him leave this season without winning the MVP, but as we all know, they hate the process.
Mandatory Credit: Pure Sweat Basketball