The Eagles’s Cry Debates: The 2023 NBA MVP


 On May 2nd 2023, Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid was named the MVP of the NBA. This decision to give the MVP award to Embiid sparked controversy and disagreement between fans of the NBA. Many believed former two-time MVP Nikola Jokic deserved the award instead of Joel, some even thought Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo should have gotten the award. But are these opinions justified? Did Joel Embiid seriously not deserve the MVP award? Let’s take a look at the stats. 


In the 2022-23 regular season Joel Embiid averaged a whopping 33.1 points per game, almost an entire 10 more points than Jokic’s 24.5 points per game. Giannis was much closer to Embiid’s total as he averaged 31.1 points per game. Another important stat factoring into this MVP decision is a player’s total rebounds per game. Embiid was third out of these three in total rebounds per game—averaging 10.2—while Giannis and Jokic had the exact same average with 11.8 rebounds per game. Now the stat that separates these players the most is assists per game. Joel Embiid averaged 4.2, Giannis averaged 5.7, and Nikola Jokic averaged an outstanding 9.8 assists per game. This stat means that Nikola Jokic was .2 assists per game away from averaging a 24 point triple double, a stat that is truly incredible. If you were to ask me, I think out of these three Joel Embiid was the least deserving of this award. Giannis and Jokic put up these impressive stat lines while also securing their teams the number one seed in their conferences…Joel’s Sixers were the three seed in the East. Had I selected the recipient of this award I would have given it to Giannis Antetokounmpo. His stats speak for themself, and without Giannis—like we saw in the playoffs—the Milwaukee Bucks look absolutely lost. However, that’s just my opinion…so I asked some of my fellow sports reporters here at The Eagles’ Cry what they thought about the 2023 NBA MVP award. 


The following is written by Jake McAuliffe


I don’t have to compare stats here. Jokic is the best player by far on what was the best regular season team. He makes everyone around him better, multiple teammates of his have had career years. Not that the playoffs should count to the MVP, but it really goes to show how valuable Jokic is to his team, how having propelled them to the NBA finals, sweeping the Lakers. But the MVP is now a political award. Voters are more concerned with choosing someone new and fun rather than who deserves it. Voters fatigue is the reason LeBron James doesn’t have 8-10 MVPs throughout his career, despite clearly being the most valuable player in the league through his career. Jokic should’ve gone back to back to back.


The following is written by Adam Jassey


‘The NBA’s MVP this year should have been Nikola Jokić. But he has won the award the last two years already. Fine, then give it to Giannis! Wait…he won the two MVPs before Jokić.’ This is the narrative that won Embiid the award. The Cameroonian big man, a huge beacon for the expansion of basketball into Africa, played well enough to be undeservingly named the league’s MVP. But not nearly as good as Jokić did. Jokić was by far the most important player in the NBA this year. Without him, the Nuggets were 4-7. Embiid’s 76ers were 9-5 without him and the Bucks were 10-6 without Antetokounmpo. The Nuggets had a higher net rating with Jokić than the Sixers and Bucks did with their respective stars, and the Nuggets also had a lower net rating without Jokić than the Sixers and Bucks did with their respective stars. Jokić was the most efficient the whole season, especially in clutch time. He is truly the MVP by every way imaginable. 


That is just what we think here at The Eagles Cry. Let us know who you think should have won MVP in the comments below.