It’s no secret who the top players in the league have been for the past few years. You’ve got James Harden, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis. This has been common in the past, but now that Leonard is out, Westbrook is scraping by for MVP contention, Davis hasn’t really shown up all season and Durant isn’t that appealing this year, who is there to fill those two spots in April?
The first guy to look at is Joel Embiid. This man is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to big men. When you’re a seven-foot center averaging 23.9 points per game and 11.1 rebounds, you have something special on your hands. It can be argued that he has a lot of support around him when it comes to Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick, but when averaging more than double the points and Rebounds of a player like Ryan Anderson who is a Power Forward and a starter nonetheless, you should get the credit you deserve.
The next reason Joel should be in MVP contention is that he’s a really hard worker, on and off the court. Just like Sean Kennedy of FanRagSports says “Among regulars who play at least 25 minutes per game, Embiid is ninth in the league in net rating at 10.6, and he is the only player in the top 13 of that list not on Golden State or Houston.” This is a pretty amazing number to put up, especially with the likes of Golden State and Houston. He’s not an angry player, he’s a hard worker, and he’s just an all-around good player and teammate.
The next player to consider is The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is an all-around player, going from Small and Power Forward to Shooting and Point Guard. It’s even more impressive when you’re six foot 11 inches and 222 pounds, especially when compared to Chris Paul, who’s six foot and 175 pounds. You’ve got this big man who can transfer from playing in the paint with the big men to taking the point against people half his size and still average 53.5 percent from the field. What makes this even more impressive is that he’s playing more minutes per game than he ever has before at 37.3, and he’s still putting up a 27.5 Points Per Game average. When you put up numbers that skyrocket past what you had the four seasons previous to this, and to this caliber, it puts you into at least top 10 in MVP standings.
When it comes to the MVP conversation, it’s usually a very heated one. Opinion gets thrown to the wind unless it’s your opinion, but when you bring statistics into it, it becomes more logistical than anything. As we all know, the numbers don’t lie.