As the Philadelphia 76ers head into the NBA playoffs, two of their former number 1 draft picks have been nominated for awards. Ben Simmons is a nominee for the defensive player of the year. Joel Embiid is a finalist for the Most Valuable Player award.
The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award could also go to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Golden State Warriors Draymond Green.
Other nominees for the Most Valuable Player award are Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
The winners will be announced during the NBA playoffs on Thursday night. The league did the same last year when they announced the NBA awards during the playoffs as they played in the bubble rather than presenting the award at the end of the regular season.
Since Embiid missed several games after the playoffs due to injury, that could hurt him when judges name the MVP. That could be a big reason he doesn’t win MVP.
Embiid worked extra hard in the off-season on his eating habits and off-season training.
If Embiid or Jokic win the MVP, this will be the first time since 2000 when Shaquille O’Neil won the award.
Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard believes Jokic should win the award since Embiid missed several games this year.
I mean, I don’t think he’s missed a game this entire season.
He’s been dominating from start to finish. They are the three seed in the Western Conference. The numbers are there. I mean, (it’s) him or Embiid. I don’t see how you don’t give it to him or Embiid. And I would give it to him over Embiid just because Embiid missed games. He’s played more games than everybody. He’s been in every game, and he’s performed. Jamal Murray got hurt. Will Barton got hurt. And they kept rolling.
Jokic played all 72 games this year and Denver Nuggets finished with the third-best record in the Western division with a 47 and 25 record.
He is considered the heavy favorite to win as he won 90 of a possible 101 votes in the ESPN straw poll last month. Jokic had one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the league.
Shaquille O’Neal believes Embiid should win the MVP.
On TNT, Shaq said, “He’s playing the game like he’s supposed to play.”
Shaq says he’d take Embiid over Jokic for Kia MVP.
Embiid finished the season averaging 29.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Jokic finished the season with 26.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game. Both centers played a key part in their team winning this season.
The Philadelphia 76ers last had a player win the MVP when Allen Iverson won the award in 2000.
Curry has already won three MVP awards playing with Golden State. The three MVP awards tie Curry with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Moses Malone. Curry was the oldest player in the league in years to win the scoring title at the age of 33.
This season, Curry finished the season with 32 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. The Gold State Warriors finished the season with 39 wins and 33 losses.
LeBron James believes Curry should win the MVP award this year.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the best record in the NBA with 49 wins, 23 losses. They claimed the first place seed for the NBA playoffs and play their first game on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards finished the season with 34 wins and 38 losses.