Joel Embiid’s MVP chances get honest assessment from Sixers coach Doc Rivers
Midway through the season, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic were neck-and-neck in the MVP race. However, Embiid has since fallen back in the fight after he suffered a knee injury in early March and missed 10 straight games in the process.
Now, many believe that Jokic has the MVP honor in the bag.
Doc Rivers, nonetheless, doesn’t believe that’s necessarily the case. For the Sixers coach, Embiid still has a great chance to earn votes for the top player plum, especially if they get the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
#Sixers coach Doc Rivers on Joel Embiid's MVP chances despite missing more than 25% of games this season: 'Let's say we get the 1 seed. I don't see how you could (deny) his impact on our team.'
— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) May 7, 2021
To be fair, it is not surprising for a coach to back his player for a certain award. In fact, it’s pretty common as a strategy to spark debate and sway the thinking of the voters.
Furthermore, Rivers has a good point. After all, the Sixers are currently the No.1 seed in the East, way ahead of the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets. How could the best player in the No.1 team in the conference not win MVP, right?
Unfortunately, what Rivers failed to consider is the win-loss record. While the Nuggets are fourth in the West, they are 44-22 on the season–just one game behind the Sixers’ 45-21 recrod.
With that said, given how similar the record is, the voting on the MVP could well be decided by stats, overall impact and–sadly for JoJo–games played. Joel Embiid has already missed 19 games prior to Friday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
While there is still a chance for the Sixers big man to tip the MVP scale in his favor, it will undoubtedly be a tough task, more difficult than Rivers make it sound.