The MVP race this season has boiled down to the same two suspects who took it right down to the wire last season. Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, is up against Joel Embiid, who has been the frontrunner according to most fans and media members so far. Jokic's Nuggets beat Embiid's Sixers in their latest game, leading some fans to crown him but comparisons between the two have still been rife across the NBA world, with playing style, defense, scoring efficiency all being considered in the debates.
However, there is a more educated source on the subject, a player that has played with both Jokic and Embiid during his career, a certain Paul Millsap. He was part of the trade that saw Ben Simmons go to the Brooklyn Nets, coming back the other way alongside James Harden. He played alongside Jokic from 2017 to 2021 on the Denver Nuggets as well. And he's given his verdict, complete with comparisons to some of the greatest NBA players ever (via SixersWire).
Question: "You played with Nikola Jokic, now you play with Joel. What do you think of the two big men and the differences between them?"
Paul Millsap: "It’s different. Really two different players. They’re so dominant in different areas. Joker with his passing and how he passes the ball and he sets the game up with his passing. Joel, his scoring ability, the moves that he has in the post, it’s like Jordan or Kobe-like. Joker is more Tim Duncan, fundamentals, that type of style so it’s kind of completely different styles, but both of them work. I’ve been blessed to be able to see both of them first-hand."
Duncan was a big man, so the comparison with Jokic is a more direct one, although the Joker's passing is much better than TD's was. The comparisons are more about their approaches to the game, as Embiid lives in the post and both Jordan and Kobe were scoring guards. Nonetheless, it is high praise for both big men from Millsap, and the MVP race promises to end on a really exciting note this season.