PoliticsThursday 05.12.22

2022 NBA Playoffs and the League’s Wrong MVP

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Time to catch up on the 2022 NBA Playoffs, where all four series are sitting on a tight three-wins-to-two margin.

In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors still lead the Memphis Grizzlies despite a blowout for the latter team on Wednesday night. The Dallas Mavericks came back from the dead against their top seed opponent, the Phoenix Suns.

In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers have been buoyed by the return of Joel Embiid, but the Miami Heat still lead the series. And the Boston Celtics — who previously looked like the hottest team in the NBA and benefited from “the rejuvenation of Al Horford,” as LZ puts it — were edged out by the Milwaukee Bucks, who took a one-game lead in their series as well.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokić, whose Denver Nuggets aren’t even in the running for a title anymore, won the league’s 2021-22 Most Valuable Player Award. LZ and Will argue that any appreciation for the spirit of the game — rather than simple statistics — leads to the obvious conclusion that Joel Embiid (who came in second) was clearly robbed.“

I don't mean to disrespect him as a player,” Will says of Jokić. “He's efficient. He is workman-like. He can sometimes be dazzling. He is also still, I'm sorry, obviously not the best player in basketball.” Of course, the award isn’t necessarily supposed to go to the league’s best player anyway (which would be Giannis Antetokounmpo). But Embiid’s performance in these playoffs show he clearly deserved it — and a deeper run for the 76ers would all but prove it.

The Long Game