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Does Joel Embiid believe he is the MVP? ‘There’s no doubt’

Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson agree that no one will have the answer for 76ers' Joel Embiid when he is healthy, but say Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic has a great basketball mind.

Joel Embiid has been dominant this year: 30.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting 38.7% from three, his improved midrange game has made him nearly unguardable, and he is a defensive force in the paint. Embiid has overwhelmed 76ers opponents; nobody has had a good answer for him.

That is MVP-level play, but Denver’s Nikola Jokic is the clear MVP frontrunner. When Shams Charania of The Athletic asked him about that, Embiid said there is no doubt he should be the MVP.

What else did you expect Embiid to say? Of course, Stephen Curry said the same thing. It takes a level of confidence bordering on arrogance to be this elite a player.

Embiid was my mid-season choice for leading the MVP race — he has been the most dominant player per minute in the NBA this season.

It’s the minutes that will cost him the award.

Jokic has played in every Nuggets game so far this season; Embiid has missed 18 Sixers games. Jokic has played 764 more minutes this season than Embiid — the equivalent of 15.9 full 48-minute games. Jokic has played 73% of Nuggets available minutes this season, Embiid is at 46% of 76ers minutes. Embiid has been a little better on a per-minute basis and is a better defender, but Jokic has been more valuable to his team because he’s been more available. The injuries and health and safety protocols that have cost Embiid time on the court may not be his fault, but it still matters.

Embiid very likely will finish top five in MVP voting, maybe still top three.

But winning the award may be a year away.