With the NBA regular season coming down to the final stretch. This might be the most heated and talked about MVP race we have seen in quite some time.
On one end you have the reigning and defending MVP Nikola Jokic who has been putting up similar MVP numbers to his season last year.
According to an espn.com article, “Nikola Jokic’s MVP flex is more muscular than The Rock. The reigning award winner is averaging 26.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists while shooting 58.3% from the field. No one in NBA history has ever averaged 25-13-7 in a season. Even without the injured Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Jokic leads the league in triple-doubles (19), second in history by a center behind Wilt Chamberlain.”
The article continued “Jokic ranks top 10 in points, rebounds and assists per game and field goal percentage — something no player has done in a season over the past 50 years. Jokic has recorded over 1,000 touches and over 600 passes more than any other player in the league, according to Second Spectrum tracking and NBA.com/stats. And for the analytics fans, Jokic is clearly ahead of Embiid and Antetokounmpo in four metrics, ranking first in Real-Plus Minus, RAPTOR (the highest since player tracking began in 2013-14), Box Plus-Minus and LEBRON.”
Now to the person that a lot of people around the Delaware area are pulling for, Joel Embiid.
In the same ESPN.com article it said, “Embiid has been one of the premier big men in the NBA for years, but he has put it all together in 2021-22. The one lingering question about him was his durability, but other than a stretch he sat out due to COVID-19 in December, he has missed only four games.”
Embiid held Philadelphia together throughout the Ben Simmons saga before Simmons was dealt for James Harden. Oh, and he’s averaging more than 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while being the league’s most unstoppable inside scoring threat.
After the Sixers win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Joel Embiid said at the MVP race/award of winning his first MVP, “If it happens, great, if it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”
Growing up in the Philadelphia area and being an avid lover of sports, you see the bashing Philly teams get in sports media in some of the major national sports coverage like ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, etc. When they talk about Philadelphia sports, it is always something bad.
When Philadelphia teams are playing on the national spotlight or a big primetime game, they are always the underdogs, or they have no chance of winning according to most sports analyst.
The perfect way to sum up how the people of Philadelphia and the athletes feel is from Jason Kelce’s speech at the Eagles Super Bowl parade.
If Joel Embiid does win the MVP, it will be a big sigh of relief for some fans. But if he, doesn’t it will be the same feeling as usual for everybody “Nobody likes Philadelphia”!