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Joel Embiid wins MVP, at last

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid was named the 2023 NBA MVP on Tuesday, finally winning the award after finishing runner-up to Nikola Jokic the past two seasons.

Embiid led the league in scoring (33.1 PPG) on a career-best 54.8 field-goal percentage and drove the Sixers to NBA’s third-best record at 54-28. The 7-footer played 66 games in the regular season, the second-most of his nine-year career.

"It's been a long time coming, a lot of hard work,” Embiid said on ‘Inside the NBA’ after receiving the award. “I've been through a lot, and I'm not just talking about basketball ... it feels good. I don't know what to say. It's amazing."

Embiid was second-favorite to win the award before the 2022/23 regular season at +500.

2022/23 MVP Final Voting

First place votes are worth 10 points. Total points include votes received for second, third, fourth, and fifth place. 

NameTeamFirst-Place VotesTotal Points
Joel Embiid76ers73915
Nikola JokicNuggets15674
Giannis AntetokounmpoBucks12606
Jayson TatumCeltics0280
Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderThunder046

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Outlasting Jokic, Giannis

Not only Sixers fans were pulling for Embiid to win MVP this year.

After two years of exceptional, MVP-caliber play that was voted second-best to Jokic, fans, coaches, and players across the NBA were pulling for ‘The Process’ to capture the award this year. 

In an anonymous NBA player poll published by ‘The Athletic,’ 51 of 102 – 50 percent – of active players voted for Embiid to win the MVP. Jokic was the second-leading vote getter in that poll at 25.5% of the votes, while Giannis received 15.7%. 

With those three having such dominant, MVP-worthy campaigns, the debate surrounding who should get the award grew more intense as the regular season came to a close. Many believed that Embiid sitting out a contest against Jokic’s Nuggets on March 27 would be a deciding factor in who won MVP. It wasn’t.

Eight days later, Embiid dropped 52 points on the Boston Celtics, a gargantuan performance that won him the award in the eyes of many, given the opponent he did it against. 

Less than a month later on May 2, the voting was final, with Embiid finishing first place.

At the time of the announcement, the 76ers lead the Celtics 1-0 in the East semifinals, even without Embiid playing in Game 1 due to a knee injury.

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