The MVP race in the NBA this season has been a hot topic that many people have given their input on. Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo were all finalists for the award, but many saw this as a two-man race between Jokic and Embiid throughout the final month or two of the regular season.
Very little separated these two this year and on Wednesday, Nikola Jokic was officially awarded and named the recipient of the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player award.
There were plenty of worthy candidates this season, but Jokic’s numbers were better than they were a season ago when he won the MVP award and he led the league in a ton of advanced statistical categories, many of which have been utilized to determine the NBA’s MVP in recent years.
Many NBA fans and analysts have come to the defense of Embiid in recent days, claiming that he should have been this year’s MVP, but ESPN’s and former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick talked on his podcast recently about why Nikola Jokic was the correct pick for this year’s award.
“First of all, I do not know how to say this without just inevitably getting blowback on this, but [Nikola] Jokic had the better season and the win percentage when those two guys played, the difference was so slim, it was 62 percent win percentage for Jokic when he played, 66% for Joel [Embiid], Jokic played in six more games, Joel only played in 68 games,” Redick said on his The Old Man & The Three podcast. “Everybody is up in arms about the advanced stats and I’m like, ‘Dude the guy averaged a shade under 28 points, over 13 rebounds and 8 assists in less minutes than Joel…’”
Many voters have defended their pick of Nikola Jokic as MVP recently, claiming that they felt his overall impact to his team was greater than that of Joel Embiid’s this season and due to the fact that he had to single-handedly carry the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs, that is where Jokic really separated himself from Embiid in this race.
“I do not know why we are so up in arms that Jokic won,” Redick went on to say. “I think the voters got it right and that is not an affront to Joel, I love him dearly, he’s like a brother to me. But Jokic should have been MVP. Had I had a vote, I would have voted for Jokic.”
The voting for MVP this season was thought to be very close, but the results on Wednesday told a different story.
Nikola Jokic ran away with this award, claiming 65 of the total 100 first-place votes for MVP, compared to 26 first-place votes in favor of Joel Embiid, and he accumulated 875 total voting points, 169 more points than that of Embiid.
This is the second consecutive season that Jokic has won the league’s MVP award, making him just the 13th different player in NBA history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Every player that has accomplished this feat is either in the Hall-of-Fame or one day will be enshrined in it.
At 27-years-old, Nikola Jokic is just now entering the prime of his career and has cemented himself not only as one of the best centers in NBA history, but as one of the best international players in NBA history.
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