The “MVP runner-up” label officially applies to Joel Embiid for a second straight season.
The NBA on Wednesday night announced that Nuggets star Nikola Jokic won the award and released full voting results.
Jokic received 65 first-place votes, Embiid 26, and Giannis Antetokounmpo nine. Jokic got 875 total points and Embiid finished with 706. It was a closer race than last year, when Embiid only had one first-place vote.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday morning that Jokic was set to be a back-to-back winner after the Serbian big man posted 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Embiid reacted to that news Tuesday night following the Sixers’ blowout Game 5 loss to the Heat and mentioned that he “just knew it wasn’t going to happen” after seeing a straw poll by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. The final straw poll by Bontemps in late March was indeed similar to the ultimate result.
Embiid congratulated Jokic, saying the four-time All-Star deserved MVP and had “an amazing season.” He also spoke at length on voting for NBA awards and focusing on putting all of his energy “into the bigger picture, which is to win the whole thing.”
At the Sixers’ shootaround Tuesday morning in Miami, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers expressed his disappointment and briefly alluded to the Ben Simmons saga that culminated in the 25-year-old being traded to the Nets.
“I don’t know if a guy could’ve done more this year,” Rivers said of Embiid. “Played without (the team’s) second-best player all year. Listen, his résumé was great. And I’m not taking anything away from Jokic either. He’s a hell of a player.
“I do think this whole analytic-driven society or world, it’s out of control at times with some of the measures that they use. Watch the dang game and decide is what I’ve always said. But at the end of the day, if Joel had won, which I thought he should have, there would have been criticism that way. If Giannis had won … only one guy can win them.”
This postseason, Embiid has suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb, a concussion, and a right orbital fracture. Along with Matisse Thybulle (left foot soreness) and Isaiah Joe (right ankle sprain), he was listed as questionable for Thursday night’s must-win Game 6 in Philadelphia.
Kyle Lowry will miss a second consecutive game with a left hamstring strain.