Maggie & Perloff: Did Nikola Jokic deserve to beat Joel Embiid for MVP?


Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic recently became the very first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 boards, and 500 assists in one season. And sometime this week, the 27-year-old will officially become the 13th player to claim back-to-back MVP awards. According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Jokic has been named this year's recipient, after carrying the Nuggets to a 48-win campaign and West playoff berth with little help.

In 74 regular season games, Jokic averaged a team-high 27.1 points with 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists. Based on FiveThirtyEight metrics, his season WAR was 23.9, and just two other players eclipsed the 14.0 mark. One of the MVP runners-up is Philadelphia 76ers superstar big Joel Embiid, who averaged an NBA-high 30.6 points with 11.7 boards and 4.2 assists. In 40 of 68 games this season, the 28-year-old scored 30-plus points in 40 of them.

"What sport are you guys watching? If you give me these advanced stats that show me Nikola Jokic is better than Joel Embiid, then you're using the wrong stats," Andrew Perloff said during Maggie and Perloff on Monday. "Who helps your team win? Forty-eight wins, and out in five games in the first round, isn't the MVP... Individuals can win championships, and Jokic isn't heading in that direction. So, there's obviously something missing in the analytics...

"I don't buy into this, 'He was carrying the team without anybody else.' That's why his numbers were so great. If he had Jamal Murray around, guess what? He's not wining MVP, because he's not scoring 27 points a game... Embiid is still alive in the playoffs! Tell me why! It's not like the 76ers have an incredible supporting cast around him... Clearly, they're rewarding the wrong guy... And anyone who thought he could lead the Nuggets to a title wasn't watching."

Maggie and Perloff's complete thoughts on the MVP results can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Maggie and Perloff Show on Twitter @MaggieandPerl and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.