Jokic MVP

Not sure I agree with Jokic winning a 2nd MVP considering he’s just as bad on defense as good as he is on offense.

Jokic finished the season:

#2 in Defensive Win Shares
#1 in Defensive Box Plus/Minus
#7 in Defensive Rating

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Jokic is not bad on defense, just limited. Most bigs in the NBA (including 3 time DPOY Booty Gobert) look overmatched on the perimeter

These are actual quotes from the guy who created Box Plus Minus:

“Box Plus/Minus is good at measuring offense and solid overall, but the defensive numbers in particular should not be considered definitive. Look at the defensive values as a guide , but don’t hesitate to discount them when a player is well known as a good or bad defender”

“Box Plus/Minus is a very good offensive metric, but it struggles some with defense. As mentioned before, when all you have is a box score, you cannot estimate defense very well. Not including minutes per game in the regression also hampers the accuracy of the defensive estimates. In other words-- take DBPM with a spoonful of salt .”

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4th year in a row where an European player wins Mvp. Witnessing history :sweat_smile:

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No real mathematician would claim definitive results when appraising the nuanced performance that is personal defense within a team construct.

I’m not sure why you chose one particular metric without mentioning the other two. (And I say that with genuine wonder, not in a confrontational way.)

I chose three prominent defensive metrics from basketball.reference, as a quick rebuttal to the original post. To claim that Jokic is a terrible defender is the opinion of someone who doesn’t follow the NBA, and is an opinion that is offensive to those that do.


Absolutely but, for me, he passes the eye test as a passable defender. Is he lock down? Hell no. Can he be targeted, by guards because he lacks later quickness? Yes. But he is far from terrible especially considering he has only one other above average defender on his squad (and even Gordon has looked mediocre at times).

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The guy is brilliant, and we see it on offense primarily. But he has all the deception and subtle feints on defense too. He is just an amazing intuitive player. He maximizes his size and limited mobility to make guys a bit uncomfortable.

He’ll get roasted in space( and that’s the kind of stuff that makes the highlight reels), but he disrupts so much around the rim and on different actions that we are still trying to figure out why he is actually a very capable overall defender.


Fair point that he’s not a terrible defender at this stage, as some might assume. However, the general consensus is that defensive ratings metrics have a lot of issues and shouldn’t be trusted to rank and compare players.

I took those quotes from the BBall Reference page explaining BPM, authored by Daniel Myers. If the others have similar write-ups somewhere I suspect they would admit similar reservations about using those defensive metrics to evaluate individual defenders in any sort of difinitive way.

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I would imagine the other metrics come with some caveats, as well. This is the “noise” NBA nerds reference when trying to get to the heart of the matter.

…anyway, go Celtics

It’s true that those stats need to be taken with a grain of salt but even with a grain of salt, they still point to Jokic not being a terrible defender. Not a bad defender. Because his supporting cast is not thought of to be strong, defensively. To the contrary. So it’s not like in the past with Steph Curry playing with a starting and crunchtime lineup that has him as the weakest link by a strong margin.

If the 76ers were much better than they were as a team, then I could see picking Embiid and disqualifying Jokic because his team came in 6th in the West. But the 76ers came in 4th in the East and only won 3 more games.

Jokic certainly shouldn’t be disqualified, but I agree with what Durant and others have said about going back-to-back; that you really need to do something much bigger than before. Jokic raised his scoring slightly and grabbed a few more rebounds (while not having to share the ball with Murray and MPJ), while his assists and winning percentage went down. He’s clearly a unique, special player and that’s why he’s the only one in the 2000, 1000, 500 club, but there isn’t any meaningful reason to use those particular cut-offs, other than them being nice round numbers. e.g there have been other seasons where players had far more points and/or rebounds but short of 500 assists.

As for the Sixers record, they actually tied for the 2nd best record in the East, just 2 games behind 1st, and faced a stronger overall schedule than the Nuggets. Nuggets really ran up the score on some of the worst teams out west. I’m not knocking Jokic for it, but if we’re going to get into the gritty details about how many games apart they were in terms of wins, I think it’s all relevant context.

Also, the momentum really swung towards Jokic during a late season stretch where the Sixers lost head-to-head battles against the Bucks/Giannis and the Nuggets/Jokic. However, if you look at (or watched) those games, Embiid actually played great and outplayed the other MVP candidates while they shared the floor, but Giannis and Jokic both ran up crazy points while Embiid sat because Doc Rivers hadn’t yet figured out the backup C rotation after the Drummond trade. The Nuggets bench outscored the Sixers bench 48-13 and that decided the game. Rivers left 37 year old Paul Millsap in at Center for a 5 minute stretch where Giannis just ran past him every possession and scored like 17 points. That decided the game too. People seemed to quickly forget that Embiid dropped 42 and 15 on Giannis for the win in Milwaukee just before the All-star break.

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Jokic literally had arguably the greatest statistical season of all time this year and dragged a terrible team to the playoffs. His second and third best player were out and nobody took up the mantle of Robin to his Batman.

For me, Joel lost it the moment they got Harden. Even though he isn’t MVP Harden from a few years ago he is still bare minimum a high level allstar. Maxey is also very capable and is showing to be a real asset, PLUS the 100 Million Dollar Man Tobias. That has to count for something. There isn’t a single player on the Nuggets this season that would crack Philly’s starting 5.

Jokic did approximately the same with a lot less help. Also I was previously on the side of the “MVPs need to be on top 4 seeded teams” crowd but once they gave Russ that MVP it let me know it’s all about narrative.

You can argue that it’s the greatest statistical season if you are really moved by and value balanced, solid production across multiple categories and high shooting percentages over elite production in 1 or 2 categories, but that’s a subjective argument. As I recall the MVP was traditionally given in the NBA to a guy who made his team a contender. Not necessarily 1st place or the best team, but a contender. Nobody really thought of the Nuggets that way this year. Making the playoffs seems like a low bar. As I said before, not disqualifying but it’s also not spectacular in terms of winning.

Embiid had some very impressive and noteworthy stats too. First center in 40 years to avg 30 pts and 1st to lead the league in scoring since Shaq. Led the NBA this season in both clutch blocks and clutch points. Embiid also cemented himself as the all-time leader in points scored per minute played, ahead of Michael Jordan.

I don’t get the Harden point to be honest. Embiid dragged the Sixers through the whole Ben Simmons saga for 60 games without Harden. His 2nd best player just didn’t show up (imo worst than having a teammate unavailable due to injury), and it was a huge distraction. Embiid adapted his game and handled the ball a lot more in transition and initiating the half court offense from the top of the arc because the team had no other point guard. He got the team out to a strong start in 1st place, then caught symptomatic COVID in November and had to miss 9 games. Sixers went 2-7 in those games. Embiid came back and went on an absolutely insane scoring tear from December - February, pulling them back to the top of the East. Tobias Harris was BAD for most of the season and most Sixers fans were dying for him to be traded before he picked it up at the very end of the season/playoffs. The Sixers also had the 3rd worst scoring bench in the league, and it definitely cost them some games where Embiid won all of his minutes only to watch the bench throw it away.

I think the case for Embiid was very strong and didn’t think it was clear-cut, any which way. With Giannis right up there too.

Good point that the 76ers were #4 in the East due to tie-breakers, but actually tied for 2nd with 3 other teams. But I would still look at them only having won 3 more games than the Nuggets. Think there were less pushover low seed teams in the East, so maybe East record should be weighted a little stronger.

The whole thing is an issue because of the name of the award and how it’s conceptualized and how there is no real guidelines for it. Agree that it’s basically for a synthesis of best player in the league and best player for one of the best teams.

Hard to go with players on teams ranked higher. Suns were good without Booker or Paul. Grizzlies were good without Ja. Warriors bad without Curry but Curry’s individual product fell off and the Warriors weren’t that good with him either. And East was a logjam.

I think they both had pretty comparable cases, though I would give Jokic the nod by a relatively small margin. Just think he does a little more for a team. But I only watched a few games with each, so I don’t even really have a right to an opinion.

Feel like there is already natural disadvantaging of a person if they won the year before. Don’t need to formalize that.

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Jokic deserved it hands down. No Murray all year and a playing through severe pain MPJ for just a fraction of the season and still make the playoffs…

You know Embiid played without Simmons all year, played thorough a lot of pain, and led his team to the playoffs too, right?

Yeah, but he had Tyrese Maxey! And then later got Old Man Harden!

I take it you didn’t watch many Sixers games this year. It was a total carry job by Embiid. He made everything work, including giving those other guys wide open looks.