It's happening. The NBA national narrative is beginning to shift and Joel Embiid's chances to win this year's most valuable player of Nikola Jokic are increasing every day.
First, let's start with on the floor. While Jokic continues to put up gaudy numbers, the Nuggets have lost three straight games to lowly Bulls, Spurs, and Nets. Meanwhile, Embiid is on a tear of late, surging back in front of Luka Doncic for the league's scoring lead at 33.4 points per game after scoring 35, 31, 42, 39, 39, and 34 (in 31 minutes) over his last six games.
And as a team, the Sixers are now 33-10 since December 6th, which is the best record in the NBA over that span. They are now just 1.0 game back of the Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the East and 0.5 game behind Jokic's Nuggets.
Locally, Mike O'Connor wrote this excellent piece for The Rights To Rickly Sanchez explaining why Jokic's advanced defensive metrics are overvalued and often misunderstood.
And nationally, analysts like Stephen A. Smith and Nick Wright have begun to beat the drum for Embiid to win the coveted award over Jokic.
And then you have the Embiid MVP moment game winning shot he hit a few days ago, followed by Jokic missing a very similar shot.
The odds also indicate that the race is tightening, as Embiid's odds are inching closer and closer to Jokic's everyday. According to FanDuel as of March 14th, Jokic is -175 and Embiid is +220.
Embiid is leading the NBA in scoring as a center in back-to-back seasons for the first time since Bob McAdoo did it from 1973-1976.
And as Wright pointed out in the video above, the only three guys who have averaged more points per game than Embiid in a season since the NBA merger are Michael Jordan, James Harden, and Kobe Bryant.
The Sixers, who look to try to catch Boston (and maybe even Milwaukee) in the East and Denver in the West (solely for MVP narrative purposes), will face all three of those teams one more time this season (@ Den 3/27, @ Mil 4/2, vs. Bos 4/4).
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