NBA MVP Watch: April 8
With the NBA regular season coming to a close, it is nearly time for voters to cast their ballots for the year’s MVP.
Three players stand clear above the rest with big men Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokić battling it out in a rematch of last year’s race along with 2019 and 2020 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With one of the closest races in years, it seems like fans and analysts will be divided no matter who takes home the crown.
Let’s take a look at each candidate's final case to receive the NBA’s highest individual honor.
Dominance: that is what comes to mind when you see Joel Embiid. The fifth-year center out of Kansas is having another phenomenal season for the 76ers.
If the current numbers hold, Embiid will become the first center to win the scoring title since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
Embiid is averaging just over 30 points a game to go along with around 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1 steal per game.
Embiid has not yet been awarded an MVP in his career after narrowly losing the battle to Jokić last season. That could be a reason voters might swing his way in this close race.
However, earlier in the year, Embiid had the argument that his team was higher up in the standings than the Nuggets. After some recent blunders, however, the 6ers have fallen to the East’s fourth seed.
Jokić is magical to watch. Every night he does something on the court that wows fans all over the world.
The reigning MVP is once again averaging close to a triple-double per night, a remarkable feat for a player of his size.
Even more impressive is how Jokić has carried a team that has been derailed by the injury bug. Jokic has kept his Nuggets in position to have home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Something that has been a big talking point in Jokić’s back-to-back MVP quest has been advanced analytics.
Jokic leads the league in player efficiency rating (PER) and is credited defensively through other advanced metrics.
The Joker has had another magnificent season, but it will be interesting to see if voters believe it is strong enough to warrant his second straight MVP.
Emerging out of the shadows as a late entry into the MVP race this season has been Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek Freak has been surging on one of the NBA’s best teams seeking their second straight NBA title.
Giannis is averaging just under 30 points a night and is second in PER.
Something Antetokounmpo has done lately that has stuck out is stepping up in big games.
He has shown up big time for the Bucks against fellow Eastern Conference contenders like the 6ers and Nets.
In Philly, he dropped 40 points and had a game saving block against Embiid. Against Brooklyn, he scored 44 points in an overtime win.
Overall, all three players have been great enough to receive this season’s MVP trophy, but only one will receive the honor.
No matter who wins, fans will be angry and argue on behalf of their favored candidate.
However, all fans can agree it has been a lot of fun to watch the tremendous play of these individuals this year.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism