Though Denver Nuggets’ Center Nikola Jokic has led the MVP race for most of the year, the tides could be shifting as the season nears its end. Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Joel Embiid is looking to be the league’s leading scorer for the second straight year, averaging a career-high 33.4 PPG through 53 games. Embiid has been consistently elite all year, despite not receiving much consideration for the MVP award. However, since the All-Star break, all eyes have been on Embiid as he’s slowly chipping away at Jokic’s lead in the MVP race.

Embiid proving that he deserves the MVP award.

Even before the All-Star break, Embiid had a statement game against the Nuggets and Jokic himself, putting up a ridiculous 47 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists in a come-from-behind victory. Not only did Embiid dominate Jokic throughout the entire game, but he also hit a step-back, end-of-shot-clock, three-pointer to secure the win for Philly. Despite such a stellar performance, the media stayed quiet.

That said, conversations are beginning to pop up throughout the media concerning Embiid winning the MVP award. Embiid’s currently on a filthy five-game stretch, averaging 37.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.4 STL, and 1.4 BLK. He has led the Sixers to a 4-1 record over this stretch as they sit just 1.5 games back from the two seed.

A monster 39-point performance against the Portland Trailblazers was impressive in itself, but Embiid managed to hit a beautiful fadeaway jumper for the win to complete a 21-point comeback at home. The Sixers led for just 1.1 second in the game, but brought home a victory for the fans in the Wells Fargo Center. This moment has been the biggest spotlight on Embiid’s MVP case thus far, especially considering Jokic’s play since the ASB.

Jokic going downhill over recent stretch.

Since the ASB, Jokic has averaged 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, and 9.3 APG. While on paper this is still very impressive, Domantas Sabonis 20.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, and 8.0 APG, while the Sacramento Kings are the two seed, yet there isn’t any talk about Sabonis being the MVP.

Jokic has scored 20+ points since the ASB just three times, including a 37-point performance in a loss against the 17-win San Antonio Spurs. This was on the same night as Embiid’s game-winning shot, giving more reason to add to Embiid’s case. Embiid has only scored less than 20 points 3 times this season, whereas Jokic has done so five times in his last eight games.

A combination of Jokic’s down play and Embiid’s recent success has significantly boosted Embiid’s chances at the MVP award. Whether or not this will change the minds of voters is still up for discussion. That said, as of now, he definitely deserves the award.

 

 

 

 

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