As expected, Joel Embiid’s injuries prevented him from becoming the first Sixer to win NBA MVP since Allen Iverson in the 2000-01 season.
Embiid finished a distant second to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in MVP voting. Stephen Curry came in third. Below are the full results:
Embiid averaged 28.5 points on a 63.6 true shooting percentage, 10.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He turned the ball over a career-low 12.5 percent of the time, per Cleaning the Glass.
Embiid’s 37.7 three-point percentage and 85.9 free throw percentage were career bests. With few exceptions, he was the reliably efficient hub of the Sixers’ offense when healthy, as well as a top-tier rim protector capable of venturing out to the perimeter on occasion.
"There's a lot of great candidates," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday night before Game 2 of his team's second-round series against the Hawks. "Between Jokic and Joel, I think it was a two-man race. I guess you could say Steph was thrown in there at the end with the way he made a charge. There's just so many great players in our league. I do think probably the deciding factor was games played. ... I was obviously hoping for our guy, but you can't take anything away from (Jokic)."
The No. 1 seed Sixers were 10-11 in the 21 regular-season games Embiid missed. According to Cleaning the Glass, the team’s net rating was 10.5 points better when he was on the floor compared to when he was off it.
The 33-year-old Curry won the NBA's scoring title, recording 32.0 points per game on 48.2/42.1/91.6 shooting splits.
Jokic played in every Nuggets game, posting 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest. Denver earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference despite losing Jamal Murray for the season with an ACL tear in April.
For voters to prefer Embiid over Jokic, they would've had to consider his 51 games more valuable than Jokic's 72 games. Though Embiid didn't finish on top, he still obviously had a special season.