Updated NBA MVP ladder: What are odds for Sixers’ Joel Embiid?

Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Sixers NBA MVP Ladder Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Sixers NBA MVP Ladder Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /

Nikola Jokic. 1. player. 73. . C. Denver Nuggets

A lot of folks continue to cite voter fatigue before placing Nikola Jokic inside the top-3. He’s definitely in the running, no two ways about it. Will he win? I’d bet against it, precisely because I believe there’s a sizable chunk of the voting body that’s tired of seeing Jokic win. Of the modern all-time talents, Jokic isn’t the sexiest name. Nobody has accomplished the MVP three-peat since Larry Bird. Are voters going to tether Jokic to Bird in the annals of NBA history? Probably not.

Buuuuuuuuuuut. Right now, it’s hard to deny the résumé. Jokic has won consecutive MVPs for a reason. The Nuggets melt like ice in the oven whenever Jokic sits, even with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in the mix. He elevates teammates to an absurd degree, creating shots for others just as prolifically as he creates for himself.

The numbers bear out Jokic’s impact — 24.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, 9.0 assists on 62.9 percent shooting. He’s one of the most efficient volume scorers in the NBA, and one of the few 60-percent shooters who actively pursues shots outside the paint. He forces defenses to pay him extra attention, then picks them apart with pinpoint passes — featuring some of the most absurdly creative set-ups you’ll ever see. Jokic is one of the handful of players who actually deserves the “basketball genius” label. He processes the game unfathomably quick.

His detractors will cite “defense!!!!” as the reason Jokic shouldn’t win the award. No, Jokic is not on the level of Giannis or Embiid defensively, but he’s a rock-solid rim protector who knows where to be and how to quarterback teammates in drop coverage. He’s a good defender. Not great, no, but certainly not bad enough to tank his MVP case when the offense is so prodigious and all-encompassing.

Next. Early NBA All-Star predictions. dark