Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid wins first MVP

Tim BontempsESPN4 minutes to read

Embiid’s top moments in the 2022-23 season MVP

Check out some of Joel Embiid’s biggest moments this season on his way to winning the NBA Most Valuable Player award for the first time.

Philadelphia 76ers player Joel Embiid has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2022-23 season, the league announced Tuesday.

Embiid, who finished second behind Nikola Jokic in award voting each of the past two seasons, flipped the script this time around, ahead of both Jokic and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for the best individual honor in the league.

What seemed like a tight race throughout most of the season ended up blowing out, with Embiid receiving 73 out of 100 available first-place votes (915 total). Jokic received 15 first place votes (674 total) while Antetokounmkpo had 12 first place votes (606). Boston Celtics forward Jason Tatum finished fourth, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shay Gilgos Alexander finished fifth.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Embiid said during an interview on “Inside The NBA” after winning the award. “It’s been a long time, a lot of hard work. I’ve been through a lot, and I’m not just talking about basketball… It feels good. I don’t know what to say. It’s amazing.”

Embiid’s victory marks the third consecutive win for a midfielder after Jokic’s wins in the past two seasons, and the fifth consecutive for an international player to return to victories for Antetokounmpo in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Before the last five years, the only internationals to win the MVP award were Hakeem Olajuwon in 1993- 1994, Steve Nash in 2005-06 and Dirk Nowitzki in 2006-2007.

This season’s MVP was renamed after Michael Jordan as part of an overhaul of the league’s awards.

Embiid, 29, had his best season with the 76ers this season, leading the NBA in scoring for the second year in a row while improving his efficiency — averaging career-highs of both 33.1 points and 54.8 percent shooting, to go along with With 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.

He also missed the last two weeks due to an LCL sprain in his right knee that he suffered in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first round series against the Brooklyn Nets. The injury forced him to miss the final game of that series and Philadelphia’s stunning victory over the Boston Celtics Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals behind a 45-point lead from James Harden.

When asked if he would be ready to play in Wednesday’s second game, Embiid demurred, saying, “We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Jokic nearly became the first center — and third player ever, joining Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson — to average a triple-double for a season, finishing with averages of 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists while shooting 63 percent from the field. For the leading Western Nuggets in the conference. Embiid denied him the chance to become just the fourth player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP awards, joining Larry Bird—the last player to do so, from 1984 to 1986—Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP, has averaged 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists for Milwaukee this season. He led the Bucks to a league-best record before missing two full games and part of a third with a back injury in Milwaukee’s shocking loss to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last week.

All season long, ESPN’s MVP Straw polls tracked just how close this race was. Back in December, Tatum topped the primary poll, but received less than half of the overall first-place votes, showing that it was still a wide open race. When the second edition of the poll took place the week leading up to the All-Star break, Jokic was riding strong, receiving 77 out of 100 first-place votes to finish ahead of Antetokounmpo and Embiid, respectively.

But between then and the last poll in late March, Jokic and the Nuggets struggled throughout March, while Embiid suffered a severe tear after the All-Star break, sending Philadelphia up the standings while facing more league power. difficult schedule.

As a result, Embiid ended up moving to the top of the final poll in late March despite receiving fewer first place votes than Jokić.

Embiid made his closing argument with a dominant 52-point, 13-rebound performance to defeat the Celtics during the final week of the regular season.

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