The 2022–23 NBA MVP race has grown rather contentious in recent weeks as lines have been drawn between supporters of two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokić and 76ers star big man Joel Embiid. However, there seems to be nothing but respect between the two players involved in the battle for the league’s highest individual honor based on comments made by the Nuggets star on Monday evening.
Following a game between Denver and Philadelphia, which Embiid missed due to a sore right calf, Jokić had nothing but praise for his fellow center.
“I think he’s a great player,” Jokic said of Embiid. “I think he’s gonna be remembered as one of the most dominant players in the league. The guy’s a beast, and he’s so talented.
“He can affect [the game] many ways on the floor. He can post up, he can face up, he can shoot 3s. He can defend really well. He can, in some situations, guard 1 through 5. So he’s a really, really good player.”
Jokić’s remarks came shortly after he added to his own MVP case with his 29th triple-double of the season in the Nuggets’ 116–111 win. The two-time reigning award-winner recorded 25 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists without Embiid on the court, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only other players in NBA history to tally more than 10 games of at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a single season.
Embiid may have sat out Monday night’s contest, but the 29-year-old is in the midst of the best season of his NBA career. The Sixers star leads the league with 33.3 points per game, while also shooting a career-high 54.5% from the field and grabbing down 10.2 rebounds per contest.
With seven games remaining for both the Nuggets and 76ers in the regular season, the MVP still seems to very much be up for grabs, leaving Jokić and Embiid with just over a week to leave a lasting impression in the minds of award voters.