Say it with me: Joel Embidd for MVP

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By George Zhang, Co-Sports Editor With only a couple of games left in the NBA season, it is onceagain time for the selection of the MVP award. Much like last year, this year features Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Sixers center Joel Embiid as the top two contenders. However, unlike last year, Embiid should...

By George Zhang, Co-Sports Editor

With only a couple of games left in the NBA season, it is once
again time for the selection of the MVP award. Much like last year, this year features Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Sixers center Joel Embiid as the top two contenders. However, unlike last year, Embiid should be the one to take home the trophy. Embiid currently sits at the number one spot on the KIA MVP Ladder as he averages 29.8 points per game (second in the league) and 11.3 rebounds (eighth in the league). He also provides valuable defense in the paint as he has the ability to shut down other big men and block the shots of smaller players driving to the basket. Last year, Embiid was lead-ing the race for MVP until he injured himself in a game against the Wizards which sidelined him for a couple of weeks. The main reason most critics doubted that he would win was because of his injury issues. However, he is much more durable this season with 60 games played already. That is nine more than the number of games he played the
entire season last year. Also, the games he missed this year do not show an accurate representation of his resilience. Only one of them was due to an injury as the rest were either from COVID-19 protocols or scheduled rest days. This shows his ability to listen to criticism and put in the
work to be better — unlike another player who used to play for the 76ers. Another reason why Embiid should be the MVP this year is that the Sixers cannot win without him. Up until the James Harden trade,
Embiid virtually had no help putting the ball in the basket. Sure, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris are great, but when the time
comes for the Sixers to get a crucial bucket, it is still Embiid who has to do the work. Now, many think the addition of James Harden will take a lot of the scoring burden off Embiid’s shoulders — and it has, but only to a certain extent. As great as Harden is, no one can deny that he is slowly declining. He has had a few rough stretches with games where he just chucks up shots and ends the game with horrible shooting percentages. Now it is time to address Embiid’s biggest rival, Nikola Jokic. Jokic is a generational talent, averaging a near triple-double with 26.3 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per game and 7.9 assists per game. These stats are great, but it does not prove that he is better than Embiid. Jokic is only better at passing the ball and maybe rebounding. Embiid is way more dominant offensively and defensively and is so much more talented in scoring the ball. While Jokic
is an elite level player, Embiid is simply better. Finally and most importantly, the narrative just fits Embiid winning. He has given it all for the organization the past few years and still remained loyal despite many disappointments. Not many players in today’s era would do that. Hopefully, he can win this award and let it signify the first of many to come.


George Zhang can be reached at [email protected]

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