Evenings on The Fanatic

Evenings on The Fanatic

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 13: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers

This entire thing about the NBA’s 2022-23 Most Valuable Player race is really starting to get out of hand. The final three contestants are no longer up for debate. Most agree that it will come down to reigning back-to-back winner in Denver’s Nikola Jokic, another two-time winner in Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and the runner-up to Jokic the last two seasons in Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. The discourse of why one is better than the other has been interesting to sit back and listen to. While each player’s game is torn apart to make a case for the player one believes should be the eventual winner. The one player who seems to have the most negative talk thrown his way for why he shouldn’t top the others is the only one not to win the award – Embiid.

Before Monday night’s game in Denver, it appeared that the six-time All-Star was in the lead to win his first MVP with eight games to play. But because Embiid didn’t suit up against Jokic for their rematch from January 28th in Philadelphia where Embiid got the best of Jokic, he’s no longer the favorite to win. How? This makes zero sense. How does one game determine that he has lost the advantage? Insane! With that said

Let’s get to five reasons why he’ll still capture his first Most Valuable Player award:

  • Has Been Mostly healthy

    The first reason that’s brought up of why Embiid has been left trophyless is because he hasn’t been able to stay healthy during the regular season and play enough games to qualify. Well… the big fella has played 61 of a possible 75 games with seven left to play to get him to 68 during an 82-game schedule. While playing in these games, he’s been on a tear – leading the league in scoring at 33.3 points per game while jostling with Mavericks star Luka Doncic for the scoring crown. If Embiid were to win, it would be his second consecutive scoring title – all done at the center position.

  • Dominates Head to Head Matchups

    In head-to-head matchups against Jokic and Antetokounmpo, Embiid has a 3-1 record and put on a show against Jokic in arguably his best game as a pro. The stat line read like this on that January afternoon – 47 points (18-31 FG, 4-7 3FG), 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots in just under 38 minutes played. And that was done in front of all of the basketball world to see, with many declaring that he had taken the MVP lead after that outstanding performance. No drop-off in his play – only elevating.

  • It is Embiid's Time

    In situations like this, players get to a point when its simply their time – it might be Embiid’s time. Jokic and Antetokounmpo have both won the award twice, while the Sixers’ center has been good enough to win it but fallen short for various reasons. Sure, the other two are worthy of it every season – they all are. But it has the feel of it finally being Embiid’s year.

  • The Sixers are Rolling

    The team has been rolling with the best record in the NBA since December 9th. On that date, Philadelphia was 12-12 with no real direction of where the team was headed. Fueled by Embiid’s January Eastern Conference Player of the Month and back-to-back Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards in early March, the 76ers sport a 37-13 record since then as we get ready to head into the playoffs. He has missed just six games since December 9thThe Sixers have had a lot of contributions from others, but we know how this works.

  • Not Doing Anything to Lose it

    Let’s make this one really simple… Embiid hasn’t done anything to lose it and neither of the other two players have done anything superhuman to wrestle it away while he continues to also play at an extremely high level.

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