This year’s competition for the NBA’s regular season MVP award was thought to be a really tight one.
The main contenders were Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who won the award both of the last two seasons.
Jokic appeared to be the favorite at one point of the season, but over the last several weeks, Embiid pulled away as the favorite to take home the award, which he did on Tuesday.
In the end, the balloting wasn’t as close as some thought it would be, as he got 73 of 100 first-place votes.
Joel Embiid is the first player to win the Kia NBA MVP Award with the 76ers since Allen Iverson in the 2000-01 season.
Complete voting results ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/kko3o8tmxi
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 2, 2023
This has been Embiid’s best season, as he won his second straight scoring title by averaging 33.1 points a game, and he also made 54.8 percent of his shot attempts.
Both of those figures were new career highs for him.
Just a few years ago, Embiid was already arguably the league’s best center, but he was injury-prone, and many pundits criticized him for his lack of conditioning and for supposedly having a poor diet.
But since then, he has gone from great to dominant.
Another area of his game that has shown lots of improvement is his free throw shooting — he shot a strong 81.4 percent from the charity stripe last season, but he improved that mark to 85.7 percent this year, which was almost another career high.
Embiid is currently dealing with a sprained knee that forced him to miss Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but without him, the Sixers defeated the Boston Celtics on the road behind a huge game from James Harden.
If Embiid returns soon enough, Philly could be in position to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2001.NEXT: Video Shows Joel Embiid Learning The MVP News