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2023 Kia NBA MVP Race: Two Elite Players Are Left In The Race

The 2023 Kia NBA MVP race is starting to come down to two players, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Jokic is the reigning MVP for the last two seasons and once again Embiid is the one closest to dethroning the Joker. Embiid and Jokic have become the two best big men in the league. Both guys deserve this award in multiple ways and will get first-place votes but this is once again a tough vote.

The MVP trophy might be named the Michael Jordan Trophy now but it has definitely become the “Jokic vs Embiid” award the past couple of seasons. The NBA MVP award is the most prestigious award for a reason. Jokic and Embiid are the best in the business for a reason. That being said, let’s discuss what each player needs to accomplish for the MVP race.

Jokic’s NBA MVP Case

Jokic is once again a frontrunner for the MVP award and for good reason. Jokic is averaging 24.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game. He has the Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference and feeling confident for their playoffs run. So what does the Joker need to do win his third consecutive MVP award?

Win out: Here is the most important path for Jokic and winning the MVP. Winning games is how you win championships. As far as winning the MVP, Jokic and the Nuggets have to out perform Embiid and the 76ers in the win column. Locking up the one seed in the West would help Jokic’s argument. If this race gets any closer, wins will count in the voting or should at least.

Triple-double average: If Jokic wants to lock up the award, he needs to get the triple-double average. That should not take much considering he is a tenth of a point away from getting to ten assists per game. Jokic currently leads the NBA in triple-doubles with 29 with the next closest being 17 away, that is dominance folks. Jokic has become a triple-double machine this season and now that very stat is what will help him lock up his third straight MVP award.

Embiid’s NBA MVP Case

Embiid is a superstar and can score 50 on anyone at any time. He is the leader of the 76ers but the MVP award has eluded him. He is averaging a whopping 33 points (NBA best), 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He is keeping the 76ers afloat in the East but injuries have forced him to miss an uncomfortable amount of games. So what does Embiid need to do to win the MVP?

Stay healthy: The most important thing for Embiid has to be his health. He has missed way too many games and might barely cross the 70 games played mark. The last time a player won an MVP after missing more than 12 games was Bill Walton in 1977-78 when he missed 24 games. If Embiid wants to take over the MVP race, he cannot miss any more games. Staying healthy needs to be his top priority past the MVP race for a playoff run but he clearly still wants the NBA MVP and his health is an issue.

Catch Denver or Milwaukee: The 76ers are trailing the Nuggets in overall record by one game and they trail the Bucks by five games. Catching Denver seems more realistic than catching Milwaukee at this point in the season. Passing Denver in wins with a healthy Embiid drastically helps his case against Jokic. With how close this vote is going to be, wins will matter down the stretch and Embiid needs to be be the force behind those wins.

Final Thoughts On The MVP Race

This is going to be one of the closest MVP races in recent memory. If Jokic wins, he becomes just the fourth player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP’s joining Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain. If Embiid wins, he finally gets that elusive MVP award and maybe the confidence to lead his team to the Finals. As of right now, Nikola Jokic is the leader for MVP until Embiid can put together another solid stat run at the end of the regular season.

 
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