Will Joker’s Run Come to an End?
As most NBA expert picks have predicted, Joel Embiid will end Nikola Jokic’s Most Value Player-winning run.
There has been some serious debate about their chances of winning, so we look at reasons why they should both win the title.
The sportsbook has taken money for Embiid, but don’t give up on Joker, who is putting up big numbers.
Jokic Seeks Three-Peat
The Northwest Denver Nugget is eyeing his third title and he has put up numbers easily good enough to win again.
He ended the regular season with a 24.5-point average, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists, which are MVP-level numbers.
Regardless of what Embiid is putting up on the offensive end, Jokic is the better player across the board, so that could influence voters. He has more rebounds and assists than Embiid, and that’s usually looked at closely.
Online gambling markets have let his price go, especially with many NBA players saying Embiid should win, but it’s not so clear cut. If scoring was everything, players like Jayson Tatum would be in the conversation.
Embiid had a chance to dominate Jokic a couple of weeks ago, but he chose to sit out the game. That could negatively affect his chances of winning the title. Jokic played that game and was prepared to go into battle, so Embiid’s lack of willingness to compete is a concern.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone believes the nasty nature of this MVP run has turned off Jokic.
“I think this year unfortunately has just taken a really ugly, nasty turn in the MVP conversation, and I think it’s really turned a lot of people off, including him,” Malone said.
And what’s happening now is there’s so many guys that could win the MVP this season. Great candidates. Joel Embiid is a great candidate, Luka Doncic is a great candidate, Jayson Tatum — whoever you want to put in that mix, those are all deserving.”
Embiid with Scoring Power
It’s not a shock to see NBA predictions favoring Embiid to win, but he didn’t do his chances any good sitting out the last two games.
The polarizing player was a scoring machine, which is why he is in MVP contention at all. He averaged 33.1 PPG, which is stunning for a big man, who has shot the three with good efficiency.
He also had 10.2 boards and 4.2 assists, so it’s the assists that set him back. However, when you’re scoring at will, giving up the rock to your teammates isn’t easy, especially when the 76ers don’t have elite outside scoring.
It’s not like Jokic, who has many other scoring options, but that also shouldn’t count against Jokic, who has the likes of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr waiting to knock down the shot.
Embiid largely has to run the offense by himself. James Harden has been a solid assist guy, but he’s not scoring at the same level he once did. Therefore, the offense runs through Embiid in the post.
“I think Joel’s body of work speaks for itself,” Rivers said. “We did the right thing here, so I don’t think that’s fair. You’re not judged for one game that I know of. You’re judged for the entire season, your team’s record and how you perform. He’s been dominant.”