A Shift in the Matrix: Joel Embiid is now the favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA MVP Award
I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in the NBA MVP Award talk this season, but at this point, I can’t stand idle on the sidelines when talking about what Joel Embiid and why yet again, he deserves to take home the NBA’s highest regular season honor.
I have spent the last month muting, blocking, and downright avoiding anyone who even dares to bring up the argument between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. After Embiid got completely shafted last season, I refused to jump back into the mud with all of the delusional NBA Beat Writers who are willing to die on Jokic hill every single season.
The Athletic, Zach Lowe, The Ringer, and Chinese media companies like Tenecet continue to make it impossible to enjoy anything related to NBA Awards as a fan, and immediately put players like Embiid in a deep hole to climb out of in terms of MVP voting.
Advanced analytics and the nerds who constantly push made up statistics all over social media (statsexuals, if you will) can’t get away with this again. There are 14 regular season games left for the Philadelphia 76ers, and if Joel Embiid continues to put up numbers like has consistently done throughout the season, then there is no possible way he wouldn’t be crowned the Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a noticeable shift in the Matrix and finally, sportsbooks and NBA fans are finally giving Joel Embiid the respect he deserves.
Maybe we’re just scarred after what happened last year with the NBA MVP voters handing Nikola Jokic the award for the second straight year while anyone with half of a brain knew it was Joel Embiid, but it’s just hard to think that there will be such a drastic shift in voting.
On the other hand, I’m not sure how the NBA award season would be able to last if they gave Jokic his third straight MVP while Embiid is putting up these types of numbers any time he steps foot on a basketball court.
The impossible has happened. After Nikola Jokic was already crowned the MVP through basically the month of February, a dramatic shift in the odds took place after Embiid dropped 36 points to go along with 18 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Sixers past the Cavaliers 118-109 on Wednesday night.
It was Embiid’s 24th 35+ point game of the season, the most by a center since Moses Malone’s 25-game stretch in the 1981-82 season. Yes, Malone won MVP that season.
Since starting the 2022-23 season at 12-12, the Sixers are now 34-10, the best record in the NBA over that time. Embiid is averaging 36 points on 59.7 percent from the field while playing elite defense over his past nine games. Post All-Star Weekend, Philadelphia had the toughest schedule in the entire NBA and have stormed out of the break to an 8-3 record, which includes six straight wins, the majority of which, happened on the road.
At the same time, for those wondering, the Nuggets and Jokic, while averaging a triple-double on the year and enjoying his personal cheerleading crew at The Ringer, have lost four straight games and are 5-5 over their last 10 games.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost last night to the Indiana Pacers, which moved the 46-22 Sixers to just three games out of first place and only one game behind the Boston Celtics in second.
It is now in the realm of possibility, that Joel Embiid could finally win the NBA MVP Award, while the Sixers enter the playoffs as the Number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
Philadelphia will also play the Nuggets, Bucks, and Celtics before the regular season ends. All of which are games that Embiid and company should have circled on their calendars already.
Philadelphia 76ers Remaining Schedule
Joel Embiid Finally Listed as Favorite for MVP on NBA.com
1. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Last week’s ranking: No. 2
Season stats: 33.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.1 apg
Seven straight 30-point performances push the NBA’s top scorer to No. 1 in this week’s Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. Embiid churned out another gem on Wednesday against Cleveland’s No. 2-rated defense with 36 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks, marking the third-straight outing the big man has racked up at least 30 points with three blocks. The 29-year-old became the first player since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to accomplish that feat, and he took advantage of every opportunity in knocking down all 10 of his free-throw attempts. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Embiid leads a Sixers squad that is 20-12 on the road with nine more games away from home left on the schedule.