Nikola Jokic says Joel Embiid deserved to win the MVP race as he’s been playing ‘extremely tough basketball through the whole season’

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Nikola Jokic has not only defeated former MVPs like Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns or more recently LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the West’s postseason, he’s currently displaying one of the strongest playoff performances in league history. The Serbian star just picked up his eighth postseason triple-double this week, and just guided the Nuggets to their first ever NBA Finals. 

Nevertheless, Denver‘s center maintains his modesty even while everyone is showering him with praise and glory. Although most fans and analysts believe now more than ever that the two-time MVP deserved to earn this honor for a third time in a row this campaign, Jokic claimed that Joel Embiid is worthy of the award.

Take a look at the big man’s comments on why he believes the Sixers star deserves this recognition:

“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic explained. “I mean, I think it’s — people are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. I think he should have won it. I think he was playing, if you watch it, extremely, extremely tough basketball through whole season … He was really amazing in 82 games or how many games he played.”

After being the frontrunner for the Kia MVP race during most of the season, once the Nuggets had assured their claim for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the team relaxed and in a way took their foot off the gas pedal.

So while Denver lost 1o out of their last 18 matches of regular season, Embiid was growing in confidence and playing some of the best basketball of his career. The 76ers were slowly crawling to the top spots of the Eastern Conference and in the final week of the campaign, beat the Celtics with a powerful 52-point exhibition from the Sixers center.

Coach Michael Malone believes that the negativity around the MVP race affected Jokic