The MVP competition this season is slowly turning out to be a race between the prolific big men of the league. On one side, there’s Nikola Jokic, the youngster who has single-handedly changed the fortunes of the Nuggets. On the other, there is Joel Embiid, who has been as influential as ever. As the season nears its culmination, this has become the preferred topic of discussion for Shaquille O’Neal and other TV analysts.
This season, both the players have shown exemplary skill and leadership for their respective sides. However, the coveted award only goes to one person. For Shaq, that person is Joel Embiid. He said, “I’d give it to Joel Embiid right now. He is playing the game like he’s supposed to be playing. He is leading, rebounding, and playing inside. Embiid is basically out there having fun on the court.”
He continued, “His ppg (points per game) is more than the Joker’s. He is also a little bit better. They are both really close. However, it has to be Joel Embiid for me this year.”
This opinion had Chuck and Kenny Smith outraged. According to them, the incessant injuries to Embiid should have been counted as a negative point. However, Shaquille O’Neal did not acknowledge it and judged the 27-yer-old as the rightful victor.
At the moment, the only negative argument anyone can muster against Embiid is his injuries. He has spent 18 games on the sidelines this season whereas Jokic has played all 58. Other than that, both Jokic and Embiid have been equally influential on the court.
With the league heading towards its business end, the race for the MVP award also gets tighter. According to the KIA MVP Ladder, Jokic is still at the top with Embiid right behind him. It has to be said that both the players have lit up the NBA with their incredible game awareness and craft.
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