The race for MVP | Joel Embiid, the “statement game” missing?
For over a decade, Basket USA has been offering it to you Top 5 candidates for the “Most Valuable Player” trophy (MVP)”. This week, it’s impossible not to mention this heavyweight rivalry between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiidrespectively number one and number two in the last two polls, which was clearly the advantage of the second named, Saturday night.
With 47 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, the pivot of Sixers really made the whole to his counterpart of nuggets, mostly front. In detail, Joel Embiid scored 30 points (on 13/22 shots, including 2/4 from 3-pointers) when Nikola Jokic defended him (about 10 minutes), while Nikola Jokic scored only 4 points (out of 1/3). on shots) when Joel Embiid defends him (about 6 minutes)…
Not durable in attack but also in defense, therefore, Joel Embiid allowed himself as a bonus to be very ” clutch “At the end of the game, to snatch victory from Nikola Jokic’s nose and beard. It is usually the kind of capital performance that is likely to weigh on the minds of voters at the end of the season, when choosing the best player for this financial year of 2022/23.
Finally, and if the “eternal dolphin” of Philadelphia no such benefit, better known as ” statement game (or matching reference), to finally get out of the wonderful shadow of the boss of denverwho could imagine being launched toward his third straight MVP title?
According to the best performances of the 21st century?
In any case, this is not the first time since the beginning of the 21st century that a player has made an impression in a race for MVP, by delivering a resounding and memorable performance and then on his way to the trophy.
For example, no one forgets this night in April 2017, where Russell Westbrook (50 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists) moved to Colorado to prove his 42nd triple-double of the season (new NBA record) and to crucify Denver with an unlikely 3-point shot. Ditto for this night in February 2016, when Stephen Curry (46 points) brought OKC to its knees, with ” win the game legend in overtime, in the middle of a record season for Golden State (73-9).
It’s hard not to think of that night in March 2014, when Kevin Durant (51 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists) led the Thunder to a miraculous victory: in back to back, in double overtime, despite Russell Westbrook’s injury and registering the victory basket in Toronto. The performance of LeBron James (52 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists) in February 2009, in this Madison Square Garden that he admires so much and somehow will strengthen the record of the first of his four MVP titles, was as crazy.
One can also mention the one by one won by Kobe Bryant (29 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) ahead of Chris Paul in April 2008, the umpteenth card from LeBron James (37 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists and an unforgettable dunk on Jason Terry) in TD Garden in March 2013, or Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dominance (45 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks) against the Sixers in April 2019.
Finally, even earlier, how can we not mention Shaquille O’Neal’s destructive birthday (61 points, 23 rebounds) against the Clippers in March 2000, Tim Duncan’s double display of force in front of Dirk Nowitzki in March (32 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists) then April (33 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks) 2002, or James Harden’s historic triple-double (60 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals) ) against the Magic in January 2018.
Revenge in two months…
There were so many performances that fed or finished feeding the candidacies of these various MVPs yesterday and today.
This weekend, Nikola Jokic may have lost more than one fight with Joel Embiid because, if the two players continue their late-season momentum and Denver and Philadelphia continue to stand in a handkerchief pocket in balance level. , no one says that the Serb, as in 2021 and 2022, will have the favor of the voters and the narrative compared to the Cameroonian.
On the one hand, because of this form of fatigue that can develop, following his two trophy winners. On the other hand, because of the masterpiece proposed by “JoJo” in their direct confrontation. But the good news for the “Joker” is that he will have the opportunity to take revenge on his “best enemy” at the end of March, in the second rivalry between the Nuggets and the Sixers.
Meanwhile, strong in his place as the leader of the Western Conference, Nikola Jokic in any case maintains the lead in our race for MVP 2023, ahead of Jayson Tatum. Watch out, however, for Joel Embiid to come back strong, just like Giannis Antetokounmpo, while Luka Doncic completes this Top 5 with an international accent.
2023 MVP RACE: OUR TOP 5
1 – Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
Assessment: 34 wins, 16 losses – 1st in the West.
Matches: 43 are contested out of 50 possible.
Statistics: 25.1 pts, 10.9 reb, 9.9 pds, 1.4 int, 0.6 ctr and 3.5 pdb in 34 min.
Percentages: 63% on shots, 39% on 3-pts and 82% on throws.
2 – Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
Assessment: 36 wins, 15 losses – 1st in the East.
Matches: 48 are disputed out of 51 possible.
Statistics: 31.1 pts, 8.7 reb, 4.4 ft, 1.1 int, 0.8 ctr and 2.9 ft in 38 min.
Percentages: 47% in shots, 35% in 3-pts and 87% in throws.
3 – Joel Embiid (Sixers)
Assessment: 32 wins, 17 losses – 3rd in the East.
Matches: 37 are contested out of 49 possible.
Statistics: 33.6 pts, 10.0 reb, 4.2 pds, 1.1 int, 1.7 ctr and 3.7 pdb in 35 min.
Percentages: 53% shooting, 36% 3-pt and 85% shooting.
4 – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
Assessment: 33 wins, 17 losses – 2nd in the East.
Matches: 39 are disputed out of 50 possible.
Statistics: 31.7 pts, 12.0 reb, 5.3 pds, 0.8 int, 0.8 ctr and 4.1 pdb in 33 min.
Percentages: 53% on shots, 27% on 3-pts and 64% on throws.
5 – Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Assessment: 27 wins, 25 losses – 6th in the West.
Matches: 43 are contested out of 52 possible.
Statistics: 33.4 pts, 8.9 reb, 8.3 pds, 1.5 int, 0.5 ctr and 3.6 pdb in 37 min.
Percentages: 50% in shots, 36% in 3-pts and 73% in throws.
Mentions : Kevin Durant (Nets), Ja Morant (Grizzlies), Domantas Sabonis (Kings), Stephen Curry (Warriors), Julius Randle (Knicks)…