The NBA season is far from finished, and the race for the NBA MVP is officially still on. For Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers, though, the MVP race is as good as over.
The NBA legend admitted he may be biased. However, after watching Joel Embiid score 52 points and notch 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks, and do that against a really strong Boston Celtics side, he saw enough to know that Embiid will be crowned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for 2022-2023.
All Signs Point to Embiid Being Voted NBA MVP
Rivers said that the NBA MVP race was over and pointed to the fact that his entire team “couldn’t make shots” even when his players were wide open. However, that became irrelevant, as Embiid took over. River was almost in disbelief that Embiid scored half of their points and did that in an NBA game against a title contender.
Recency bias can also be a factor that could work in Embiid’s favor. While the 76ers star was single-handedly demolishing the Celtics, Embiid’s MVP rival, Nikola Jokic, scored only 14 points and had 8 turnovers against the Houston Rockets and couldn’t help his team avoid a 21-point defeat.
Jokic was out for three games before taking to the court to face the Rockets because of a calf injury. Both the Serbian star and Jamal Murray weren’t risked with the playoffs looming and the Nuggets all but securing their playoff berth.
So, when presented with a choice between a player who scores 50+ points and one that is being protected for the playoffs and sleepwalking through games, it is easy to see which player voters would go with.
Bookies seem to think along those lines too. They make Joel Embiid (-250) a strong favorite, while the odds for Nikola Jokic (+225) are those of an outsider. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+550) is no longer even in the MVP conversation. So, Doc Rivers is probably right. The NBA MVP race seems well and truly over.