Joel Embiid has been dominant this year: 30.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting 38.7% from three, his improved midrange game has made him nearly unguardable, and he is a defensive force in the paint. Embiid has overwhelmed 76ers opponents; nobody has had a good answer for him.
76ers star Joel Embiid sits down with @Stadium: “There’s no doubt (I’m MVP). I’ve been dominant all season. I’m not going to stop.” On motivation from feeling disrespected and frustrated last season, Shaq’s criticism “opened my eyes to actually realize that I can be that guy.” pic.twitter.com/Ud3O2APOkV
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 22, 2021
Embiid was my mid-season choice for leading the MVP race — he has been the most dominant player per minute in the NBA this season.
It’s the minutes that will cost him the award.
Jokic has played in every Nuggets game so far this season; Embiid has missed 18 Sixers games. Jokic has played 764 more minutes this season than Embiid — the equivalent of 15.9 full 48-minute games. Jokic has played 73% of Nuggets available minutes this season, Embiid is at 46% of 76ers minutes. Embiid has been a little better on a per-minute basis and is a better defender, but Jokic has been more valuable to his team because he’s been more available. The injuries and health and safety protocols that have cost Embiid time on the court may not be his fault, but it still matters.
Embiid very likely will finish top five in MVP voting, maybe still top three.
But winning the award may be a year away.