Another day, another new entry in what's become a hotly debated NBA MVP race. This time we've got Hall of Fame coach George Karl bashing the game of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid. Apparently Karl was unaware that you can laud one player's game without disparaging the talents of another.
In an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio, Karl was asked which payer he would pick for MVP this season, and instead of just giving the reasons as to why he would choose Nikola Jokic, the former Denver Nuggets coach sounded off on Embiid in a not-so-positive light.
"To me, I don't want to bad mouth Embiid because I think he's really, really good," Karl began. "A lot of my assistant coaches were in Philadelphia when he was a young player and they kept telling me he's going to be the best guy to ever play the game. I see him moving in that direction. But he takes too many possessions off. He has lazy body language. He gets angry at things that we don't understand why. I just don't know if he's that NBA pro that we all love because he's a competitive SOB and he's tough."
"From what I know in Philadelphia everybody says he's playing great," he said. 'The games I've seen he's played really really well. He's played great in the fourth quarters with a lot of comeback wins. But I can only like one big guy and I'm going to take Jokic over Embiid."
What a weird assessment of the MVP race. Karl doesn't give any tangible reasons as to why he prefers Jokic over Embiid, and instead calls his body language "lazy" and says he gets "angry" for no reason. Also strange to say that Embiid "takes too many possessions off" when he's leading the league in scoring...for the second consecutive season.
It's perfectly fine to lean toward Jokic over Embiid or vice versa for the MVP award, but to completely dismiss what the Sixers big man has done this season while lauding Jokic is completely irresponsible.
Karl's response is the perfect example with what's wrong with the MVP debate. Every season without fail we get into these heated debates where we are no longer discussing the merits of each player's season and instead devolve into an argument that often involves trashing one player in favor of another. Both Embiid and Jokic have had outstanding seasons, as has Giannis Antetokounmpo who is also in the MVP conversation. Any three of those players would be a fine choice for the MVP award this season, and we can award one player without completely minimizing what the others have done.