When NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Nikola Jokic won his second consecutive MVP, there was some shock that a player who led his team to the sixth-best record in the Western Conference won the award.
Count Coach Doc Rivers amongst the masses, the 76ers coach advocated for his MVP candidate Joel Embiid to be the winner of the prestigious award.
“I don’t know if I could’ve done more than he did this year, play without the second-best player 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-drive 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.”
“But at the end of the day, if Joel had won, which I thought he should have, there would have been criticism that way if Giannis (Antetokounmpo) had won. Only one guy could win, unfortunately.”
Doc Rivers on the MVP race: “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.”— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) May 10, 2022
Full quote below. pic.twitter.com/3gWVQBvmAA
The case for Jokic is that he put together a historically great season this season without Jamal Murray (torn ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (lower back) by his side for most if not all of the regular season. Jokic finished the 2021-22 campaign, averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game on 58.3 percent shooting from the field. He also led the League in PER (32.8), win shares (15.2), box plus/mins (13.7), and value over replacement player (9.8).
The Joker also became the first player in NBA history to hit 2,000 points, 1,000 boards, and 500 dimes in a single season.
For Embiid, he led the Sixers (51-31) to a tie with the Bucks and Celtics for second best in the Eastern Conference while becoming the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to lead the League in scoring with 30.6 points per game. Embiid also finished fifth in rebounds (11.7) and played in a career-high 68 games this year. All without his All-Star partner in crime Ben Simmons.
Embiid has finished as the runner-up twice in a year now, both times to Jokic, who completed both seasons with historical numbers. Jokic becomes the first player since Russell Westbrook to win MVP with the sixth-best record in their conference. Brodie won the MVP after becoming the first player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson.