NBA

For the first time this season Joel Embiid jumps to No.2 in the MVP Ladder behind Nikola Jokić

Antonio Kozlow profile picture
Sports Editor
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What a week it’s been for Joel Embiid! Not only was he snubbed off as an All-Star Game starter, but he then scored 47 points in a single game this past weekend and just recently made it to the current Kia MVP Ladder’s second place, only behind Nikola Jokić.

Slowly but surely he’s making his presence known in the ladder. Just two weeks ago he finally entered the Top 5 after his 30th appearance of the season, and it seems he’s not looking back.

Maybe all of the controversy around the fact he wasn’t chosen to be an All-Star Game starter is his fuel to prove he is one of the top players in the league. Last week, the 76ers president Daryl Morey blamed the “shameless Boston media” for snubbing Joel Embiid from the Eastern Conference starting five game in Salt Lake City next month.

The French big man had his own things to say on the matter:

However, the quarrel around Philadelphia’s center has no rest. Even legendary former players have felt the need to comment over whether Embiid is better (or worse) than two-time MVP and current leader in the ladder, Nikola Jokić. One of the last ones to share his thoughts was Hakeem Olajuwon, who referred to the Serbian as “The One” over the Sixers star.

Nevertheless, just this weekend we had a chance to see them both in action on the same court, as Philadelphia won 126 to 119 against the Denver Nuggets. Embiid showed total domination over the match as he scored an outstanding 47 points, 18 rebounds and 5 assists!

This created quite the reaction in the press, as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went all out to say Embiid was now a better star player than Jokić, who was able to score 24 points, win 8 rebounds and hand out 9 assists against Philly.

“That athleticism combined with his defensive prowess, cause’ we already know what he brings to the table offensively,” Smith said on air. “That’s the kind of stuff you need when the Playoffs come in a best of seven-series.”  Watch how ESPN’s round table debate about the current strongest two players in the league.

Back to the ladder. So as the French center sneaks up to No. 2, Jayson Tatum Falls down to third. Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo jumps up one spot to fourth after returning from a five-game break on Monday due to knee soreness. Luka Dončić, on the other hand, falls down to fifth place.

Here are this week’s Top 10 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder:

1. Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets (Last week’s ranking: No. 1)

2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers  (Last week’s ranking: No. 3)

3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (Last week’s ranking: No. 2)

4. Giannis Antetokoumpo, Milwaukee Bucks (Last week’s ranking: No. 5)

5. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks (Last week’s ranking: No. 4)

6. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (Last week’s ranking: No. 7)

7. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (Last week’s ranking: No. 6)

8. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Last week’s ranking: unranked)

9. Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Last week’s ranking: unranked)

10. Julius Randle, New York Knicks (Last week’s ranking: unranked)

If you are looking to bet, here are the current odds as of today January 30th according to BetOnline.ag:

1. Nikola Jokic
-115
2. Joel Embiid
+250
3. Luka Doncic
+650
4. Jayson Tatum
+1000
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo
+1600
6. Ja Morant
+2800
7. Kevin Durant
+5000
It seems now that most of our favorite sport betting sites are taking note of Joel Embiid’s progression, as this is the first time he’s got the second best odds during the whole 2022/23 campaign.

Antonio is a life long sports enthusiast and professional journalist, who shares an obssesive urge to find and dig up the most interesting facts to guide gamblers towards more exciting, yet safe bets. In his own words, ''you can never really know enough about the things you love''.

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