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Why Joel Embiid Should Win MVP

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Why Joel Embiid Should Win MVP

Another NBA season is nearing its end and with it comes another debate on who should win MVP. And for the third year in a row, it seems like it’s gonna come down to Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Jokic the back-to-back MVP winner has continued his domination to try and secure the coveted three-peat. While Embiid looks to get the camel off his back and win his first. With all that in mind let’s see the case for why Joel Embiid should win the MVP this year.

The Stats

To start this debate I think it’s important to look at the stats. I know stats aren’t everything but I think they serve as a good starting point.

Joel Embiid: 33.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. And he’s done all this while shooting an efficient 54.5% from the field and 34.1% from three. He has been the backbone for an offense that has been one of the best in the league and has led the Sixers to a record of 49-25.

Nikola Jokic: 24.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, 9.9 assists, 0.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. While shooting 63.3% from the field and 39% from three. And like Embiid, Jokic has been the backbone of this offense and his play usually determines whether or not the Nuggets will win.

When looking purely at stats it may be hard to make a decision. You have two big men who seem to be very effective in different ways. Embiid is clearly the better scorer and has frankly been scoring at a historic rate for a center. He set a franchise record by scoring 30 points in 10 straight games. And has been able to seemingly carry this Sixer team at times when injuries have occurred.

Jokic has the clear advantage as a playmaker and frankly may be the best passing big man we have ever seen. His ability to create shots for his teammates is unmatched at the position and had played a huge role in getting Jokic his two MVPs. Overall the counting stats seem to more or less even out in different areas. But there is one clear advantage Embiid has that I think is enough to give him the edge.


Again on the offensive end, it can be tough to gauge who the more impactful player is. Embiid is clearly a much better raw scorer while Jokic takes the cake in the playmaking department. But where I think the real separation is for Embiid is on the defensive end.

Now before you mention it, I don’t care about these advanced defensive metrics that say that Jokic is actually an elite defender. Not to say those kinds of stats don’t matter at all but sometimes you just need to watch a player and give them the eye test. When watching Jokic try to play defense it’s clear that he still has some room for improvement.

Embiid on the other hand has continued to be one of the better rim-protecting bigs in the NBA. Now Embiid still isn’t a great defender in terms of guarding people on the perimeter on switches. But then again neither is Jokic, but where Embiid gets the advantage is as a pure rim protector. As evidenced by the nearly two blocks Embiid averages per game.

When Doc is using Joel Embiid correctly on this end and keeping him in the paint he looks like a natural. He’s able to focus solely on protecting the rim and make life difficult for opposing players. And while Jokic isn’t a liability on the Defensive end it’s clear that he just isn’t on the same level as Embiid.

And when trying to determine who the better player is, I think it’s very important to look at both sides of the ball. Especially when it’s so difficult to tell who the better offensive player truly is. Joel Embiid overall has been better on both ends and therefore in my mind gets the nod for MVP.

Voter Fatigue

Now listen, let me just preface this by saying I hate the idea of voter fatigue. Winning awards in years past shouldn’t affect your odds of winning in the future. If you’re the best player then you’re the best player simple as that. But if we’re talking about why Embiid should MVP then it’s not something we can ignore.

As much as we may hate it, it would be ignorant to say that it just doesn’t exist. If it didn’t, then guys like Lebron James and Micael Jordan would likely have a lot more MVPs. The fact of the matter is, Jokic has now entered that voter fatigue category.

He has deservedly won the last two MVPs and really hasn’t played any worse than in those two seasons. But the NBA does not like giving out three straight MVPs like it really doesn’t. It’s only happened to three people and hasn’t been done since Larry Bird did it from 1984-1986.

And I think in a situation like this, with multiple guys very deserving of the award, the NBA is going to lean more toward the guy who hasn’t won one yet. Again I’m not a fan of this logic, but I just have a strong feeling that the NBA is gonna shy away from giving Jokic his third straight MVP. Putting Embiid perfectly in line to win his first.

The Peoples MVP

Now I understand that I am just an intern who is also a Philly fan. So I understand that you may not really value what Im saying. And it’s a fair gripe to have. But if you aren’t gonna listen to me then maybe you’ll listen to some actual players and their thoughts on the MVP race.

Now you make not value what fellow players think about the MVP race, but I’m of the opposite mindset. These are the guys actually facing off against these players, getting a first-hand account of how impactful these players actually are.

And a guy like Draymond Green who has been one of the better defensive-minded players this past decade surely has an eye for the value players can bring to their team. In all, it’s simply time for Embiid to get his MVP. Fans know it and so do the players. And in a race this close, I don’t think it’s crazy to value the word of fellow NBA players.

The closing case for Joel Embiid

Overall this MVP race is an insanely close one and arguments can be made for both players. You really can’t go wrong and both players are very deserving. And while an intense race like this might be on the minds of guys like Jokic and Embiid, Joel Embiid seems to be solely focused on completing the process and winning a championship.

“What matters – it’s just about winning, winning, winning. I’ve been focused on that. We’ve been doing that,” “Whatever happens, happens. If I win MVP, good. If I don’t, it’s fine with me.”

Quote Via The Score

And while there may be some truth to that statement, Embiids’ open desire to win MVP in the past leads me to believe that this isn’t 100% true. His improved play down the stretch can also be an indicator that he’s taking it up a notch to secure his coveted MVP.

Since December first the Sixers have been one of the hottest teams in the league boasting a record of 37-15. While also having the toughest schedule in the NBA post-all-star break. And this can all largely be attributed to the insane stretch Embiid has been on.

The offense runs through him and his dominant play during the second half of the season has directly to more wins for this Sixer team. His ability to carry the team when needed and step up when guys like Harden and Maxey were injured is in my mind enough to edge him out over Jokic for MVP.


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