NEW YORK – Kevin Durant believes that Joel Embid he should be the 2021-22 NBA MVP.
Durant, who won the award during the 2013-14 season, said that while there were many deserving candidates, he felt Embiid’s season was a cut above the rest.
“If I had to choose, I’d go with Joel Embiid,” the Brooklyn Nets’ star forward said after Tuesday’s trip. “He led the league in scoring, double-doubles, his team won 50 games this year. The numbers were incredible. It’s a great year.
“But you can just close your eyes and pick any of the top six or seven, and you can have a good MVP this year. That shows how big our league is right now and how talented our league is from top to bottom, but I’d go with Embiid if I had to choose.”
Embiid has expressed disappointment with the way some voters view him, a theory Durant backed up while discussing how the narrative plays out in MVP voting.
“It’s unfortunate,” Durant said. “There are a lot of players who have been controlled by their narrative. Some of it has been by the player, some of it has just been other people’s perception of that player. In Joel’s case, more people like Giannis and Jokic. It’s as simple as that. They just prefer them more than Embiid’s personality or his story, I guess.”
Durant said that from a basketball standpoint, Embiid’s numbers compare to everyone else’s, including the Denver Nuggets center. Nikola Jockicthe player many in the league believe will win his second straight MVP after the season.
“As a basketball player, people watching just the game and what’s going on the court, the narratives and who you are and your personality, those things don’t really matter,” Durant said. “It shouldn’t matter when it comes to awards like that. But [con] Joel, [los votantes] They probably like those other guys better than you personally. That’s not fair at all, but that’s the way it is sometimes. But if I had a vote, I’d pick Joel.”
In Durant’s mind, if a player wins a second consecutive MVP award, he has to do something even more extraordinary than what he did before.
“I feel like if you’re going to win back-to-back MVPs, like Steph Curry,” Durant said of the Golden State Warriors’ star guard who won back-to-back MVPs in 2015 and 2016. “He averaged what was his first MVP, like 23 points, seven rebounds , but in the next one it went up to another level: if you’re going to get two in a row, you can’t duplicate the same thing you did before, in my opinion. That’s how I feel. I’m not saying this is the holy grail. I’m saying that this is how it’s how i feel.
“If you said Steph comes back next year when they’ve won 73 games and averaged 23 points again, it just wouldn’t work as well. [Para] to get two in a row, you have to go up and do something bigger and better than before, in my opinion. If you’re going to get it. If you’re going to do the same thing you did before, you might as well go ahead and have another winner. Consecutive MVPs are special and the season you have to have as a team, individually, it all has to come together for you to win. [MVP] consecutive in my opinion. So I feel like Jokic has an amazing season, but Joel’s season was just as good, if not better. So I think he deserves the MVP in my opinion.”
For his part, Durant said he played well enough to be considered for the award this season, but understands that an MCL injury, which cost him a month and a half of the season while he recovered from mid-January through February, it’s the reason you’re not getting more boost for the prize. He understands that “there are a lot of what-if situations” throughout a season.
“I see why I’m not in that conversation,” Durant said. “But I’m sure there are a lot of guys in the league who play MVP-caliber basketball for their clubs. That helps their clubs reach heights that they will probably reach this year. [sin ellos]But when it comes to the entire league, there are so many great players playing right now, it’s hard to choose. But I can really say that there are 10 or 12 of us that can maybe be in that conversation. It’s great to see that in our league.”
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash, who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 as a member of the Phoenix Suns, agreed with Durant’s assessment.
“Kevin would be my MVP for sure,” Nash said. “I don’t know how many games someone has to play to be, but obviously I think Kevin is amazing, what he does and what he’s capable of affecting the game in so many different ways.”
Regarding Durant’s point about winning back-to-back awards, Nash said his 2006-2007 season was actually his best season, a season for which he didn’t win the award.
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For KD, Joel Embiid deserves to be MVP