By Dylan MacKinnon
It has been over two years since Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic faced off against each other. The last time they dud was Dec 10th, 2019. That should hopefully change tonight when Embiid faces Jokic in a battle for MVP . Last year Jokic took the award with Embiid as the runner up. Currently, Embiid is the favorite to win, but Jokic’s odds are not far behind. With the two of them facing off in primetime on National TV, this game could play a huge role in deciding who wins MVP.
It will be the 6th the two of them meet head to head. The Sixers are 4-1 in those meetings. Embiid averages 19.8 pts, 11.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Jokic averages 21.4 pts, 8.2 rebounds, and 7 assists. The games they have met have been relatively low scoring. The last two games they combined for under 200pts. But they have never faced since the two of them became perennial MVP candidates. The last time they met, Embiid was still dealing with conditioning issues, and Jokic was still averaging under 20 pts a game. They were both good, perhaps great players, but they were not considered the two best players in the league. Now you cant discuss who the best player is without their names.
Both players have recently heaped effusive praise onto the other. A week ago, Embiid was asked what he though about the play of Nikola Jokic.
Joel Embiid on Nikola Jokic: "He's a monster. What he's able to do on a basketball floor, it's really crazy."— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) March 8, 2022
"When you look at really who the best players are, it's really big men. Whether it's Giannis, him, Jokic, KD's 7-feet... Foreign guys are really taking over, Luka." pic.twitter.com/H0Tc75LdL5
Not to upstaged by Embiid, Jokic followed that up with praise of his own.
“He’s a great player, great. Like, for real, great, great player. He can do everything on the floor, who is controlling the game, who is in conversation for MVP and the best player in the league. He’s so dominant. He is skilled, but he’s so big and strong that he uses that. He’s really tough coverage for every single team in the NBA. … I like to play with the best in the league and the best in the business, but there’s nothing going to be nothing special for me.”
Tonight’s game wont decide who wins MVP. But with it being a National Game, and the best chance for many MVP voters to see both players, it could play a big role. There are many MVP Voters who work a beat and don’t get to watch the Sixers or Nuggets often. A National TV game may be one of the few chances they get to witness either player.
The Sixers enter the game 2.5pt favorites. Our coverage starts at 7:20pm with the Pregame show. Then Tom McGinnis is on the call when the game tips at 7:30. Join us as Embiid faces Jokic in a game that will go a long way in determining who wins MVP.