Making the case for MVP: Antetokounmpo, Embiid, or Jokic?

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images /
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Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia Sixers

The MVP runner-up each of the last two seasons behind Nikola Jokic, he has used that as motivation this season and came back with a vengeance, putting up a career-best 33.7 points per game on a career-high 54% from the field. The Cameroon native is also hauling in 10.2 rebounds, dishing 4.2 assists, and averaging 1.7 blocks per game while also shooting 86% from the foul line, a career high.

The Sixers sit as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Bucks and Celtics as they look to finally get to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2001, when Allen Iverson led them to the Finals that season during his own MVP campaign.

Embiid ranks fourth in win shares (12.3), second in box +/- (9.1), third in VORP, and second in PER (31.4). Embiid detractors would say Jokic is better across the advanced numbers in basically every category, but when you look at the two-way impact of Embiid, who is 7th in defensive win shares and defensive rating, respectively, you have to take that into consideration.

Every MVP recipient has had memorable, marquee moments during the regular season, and Embiid has had those, whether it was the showdown with Jokic in a 126-119 victory on January 28 where he recorded a monster stat line of 47 points on 18-of-31 shooting (58%), 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks while being a +18 on the floor — something stat nerds will love.

Embiid also just recently dropped a 52-piece on April 4 against the Celtics in a 103-101 victory on an unprecedented 20-of-25 from the field (80%)! Doing it in a variety of ways, from dunking on opponents heads to mid-range pullups, posting up, and getting to the foul line. He also corralled 13 rebounds and dished out six assists to go along with two blocks.

After that game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers had high praise for his superstar center, stating:

"“We did so many things wrong, but what we did right was Joel Embiid,” Rivers said. “The MVP race is over. Really. The man just scored half our points. In an NBA game.”"

That says it all, and if Doc is correct… Embiid will secure the first MVP award of his career that he rightfully deserves.