Why a controversial new rule may cost Joel Embiid an MVP repeat

Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has already missed 11 games thus far this season, and for him to qualify for the ballot for Most Valuable Player, he can miss no more than 17 games. That is thanks to a new rule in the recently ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is meant to encourage the league's best player to play when healthy rather than sit due to load management.

Having an MVP candidate play two-thirds of the season to qualify for the award does make sense for the NBA. However, it would be a bad look for Embiid to miss out on a repeat MVP by missing seven more games. Especially after the season, he's having.

Embiid's averaging a staggering 36 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game, making him the clear frontrunner for the award. That being said, even something as common as a rolled ankle could easily cost him the most prestigious award in the NBA. 

Will Embiid miss out on a second-straight MVP?

With just 38 games left in the Philadelphia 76ers' season, missing fewer than seven more games is definitely doable but not exactly a guarantee. The 11 games he has already missed this season leave him with little margin of error for a fluke injury.

That also means that it may be harder for the Sixers to rest their best player down the stretch, though with how close the standings are in the Eastern Conference, that may not be something they would have been able to do anyway. Even if they wrap up home court advantage, they could simply play him limited minutes to satisfy the NBA's new games played requirements for league awards. 

Ultimately, the new game requirement is having its intended effect, with several of the league's top players playing more than they otherwise might. Still, it could have an unintended consequence since it could disqualify the frontrunner for MVP, making it a key storyline to watch over the second half of the season.