Joel Embiid: There Were No Wrong Answers Between Nikola Jokic, Giannis, Me for MVP

Erin WalshMay 11, 2022

MIAMI, FL - MAY 10: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the Miami Heat during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 10, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic reportedly won the NBA's 2022 MVP award for the second straight year, beating out Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for the honor.

Speaking to reporters after Philly's 120-85 Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Embiid congratulated Jokic for winning the award, which has yet to be officially announced. He also said "there's no right or wrong" answer between himself, Antetokounmpo, Jokic and even Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker for the honor.

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

Here's Embiid's full quote on the MVP decision, voters on the award, and focusing on the bigger picture: <a href="https://t.co/1H14Rc30qm">pic.twitter.com/1H14Rc30qm</a>

Many believed Embiid, this year's scoring champion, should have been named the league's MVP after he put together the best statistical season of his career. He was also the first center since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000 to be named scoring champion.

The 28-year-old averaged 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 49.9 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from deep in 68 regular-season games. He also averaged 1.1 steals and 1.5 block per game.

Embiid's career year helped the Sixers finish fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record. They were technically tied for the second-best record in the East, but the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks earned the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, because of tiebreakers.

What's even more impressive about Embiid's performance is that he did it without a true No. 2 beside him as Ben Simmons sat out until he was eventually traded to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden. That said, Tyrese Maxey also had a career year and blossomed into a star for the Sixers.

Even 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was disappointed that Embiid didn't win the award, telling reporters before Tuesday's Game 5 that he's unsure what more the 2014 third overall pick could have done"

"I don't know if a guy could've done more than he did this year, play without the second-best player [Ben Simmons] all year. Listen, his resume was great. I'm not taking anything away from Jokic either, because he's a hell of a player.
"I do think this whole analytic-driven society, world is out of control at times with some of the measures that they use. Like, watch the dang game and decide is what I've always said."

Jokic was still deserving of the honor, especially considering he led a severely depleted Nuggets team, which was without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. for much of the season, to the playoffs.

The 27-year-old also improved upon his numbers from the 2020-21 season, when he won his first MVP award. He averaged a career-high 27.1 points and 13.8 rebounds, in addition to 7.9 assists and 1.5 steals, in 74 regular-season games.

In addition, Jokic shot 58.3 percent from the floor and 33.7 percent from deep and became the first player in NBA history to record 2,000 points (2,004), 1,000 rebounds (1,019), and 500 assists (584) in a single season.

Considering Embiid is just 28 years old, he still has plenty of time to add an MVP trophy to his numerous accolades. Who knows, maybe it will come as early as next season.