At this stage in the season, the focus has shifted to the battle to secure a spot in the postseason, although neither the Nuggets nor the 76ers are in any immediate danger of failing to cut. With a record of 50-24, the Nuggets are now in first place in the Western Conference, with a comfortable lead of three games. Conversely, the Sixers hold a record of 49-25, which is good for third place in the Eastern Conference.
These teams should already be locked in their seeds, but a pair of wins with less than two weeks left in the season could give them some cushion. Embiid’s matchup with Jokic is the most important aspect of this game.
The last time these two faced off was in January in Philadelphia, and Embiid won significantly. At the game’s end, he had 47 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. In contrast, Jokic only scored 24 points and had eight rebounds and nine assists during the game.
That marked a tipping moment in the MVP debate, which both players have professed their distaste for throughout the conversation. But regardless of how many times they claim that they don’t care about the prize, everyone will be talking about that tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how many times they say it.
As part of this Extra Pass, we will provide some topics you can discuss with your friends as you watch the game live on NBA TV Philippines at 9:30 AM. Be ready to impress people with your intelligence and stir up some controversy.
Only three players in history—Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird—have ever been able to win Most Valuable Player honors in each of three straight seasons. It takes a rare level of domination to remain at the top for that long, but other vague aspects need to coincide with being named Most Valuable Player three times.
The Most Valuable Player is determined by a vote cast by a select group of media representatives. As a result, narratives affect the Most Valuable Player argument, or they infect it, depending on your perspective. A significant obstacle to Jokic’s case to become the Most Valuable Player was the voters’ exhaustion. The question is no longer whether Jokic deserves the Most Valuable Player award; rather, the topic of conversation has shifted to whether Jokic deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Russell, Chamberlain, and Bird.
There are no rings for Jokic/Embiid.
The following is, by a wide by, the most ridiculous of the talking points you will come across in this discourse. This honor is given to the player who performed the best during the regular season. Discussing the team’s performance in the postseason is irrelevant to the subject.
This does not imply that either one is lacking in that particular department. Jokic has guided the Nuggets to the postseason for the past four years, and they will compete in the Western Conference Finals in 2020 because of his efforts. Embiid has guided the Sixers to the postseason in the past five seasons as a starter. If you search “Kawhi Leonard buzzer beater” on YouTube, you can see how close the Sixers came to winning the championship in 2019.
Whether sophisticated or not, using numbers as a weapon in the MVP debate has been the most poisonous development this season. Fans have resorted to picking and choosing among several statistical categories to establish their position. The unfortunate reality is that if you have access to the appropriate statistics, you can construct an argument supporting any talking point.
You want to demonstrate that Jokic is a useless defender, right? Please select the appropriate filters to see his rim protection numbers compared to those of other starting centers in the league. Do you want evidence that Jokic is a menacing presence on the defensive end? Please display the Nuggets’ defensive rating when Jokic is playing for the team and when he is not.
The people who have eye exams are not in a better position. Twitter is now a treasure trove of footage that may be used to establish any point you want. There are an equal number of videos in which Embiid is shown to have failed miserably when playing defense, as there are videos in which he succeeds magnificently.
That being said, there is an easier and more enjoyable method to take advantage of this situation: to watch the game.