The Indiana Pacers may be out of the playoff picture this season, but head coach Rick Carlisle definitely won’t shy away from heaping praises to those who can lead a valiant stand for the much-coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.
But before that, the regular season plums cannot be ignored. In fact, the championship coach seems to have his own pick on who should be hailed as the Most Valuable Player this season, which figures to be as tight of a race as ever before.
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle reveals his MVP pick for this season
Prior to the Pacers’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers last week, Carlisle zoomed in on superstar center Joel Embiid as his MVP pick this season, ahead of players like Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
"[Joel Embiid] is probably the MVP with what their team is doing and how he’s elevated his game. He’s as difficult a guy to game plan for as there is… Giannis is crazy ridiculous. Jokic is, same, and this guy may be even more difficult."
Embiid definitely has a very good case to bag his first MVP trophy this season. With Philadelphia touting the fourth-best record in the league this season and the Cameroonian leading the charge with an NBA-leading 33.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game on a career-high 54.5 percent shooting from the field, penciling him in as the favorite for the award is justifiable.
Of course, with Antetokounmpo leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the league’s best record currently despite injuries on the roster left and right, and two-time MVP Jokic turbocharging the Denver Nuggets as the alpha team in the West, the race will come down to the wire. Voters will definitely be conflicted, but given what Embiid has done this season for Philadelphia, which now has the makings of a bona fide championship contender, it’s hard not to agree with Carlisle.
While the Indiana Pacers currently do not have anyone on the MVP discussion, hopefully, there could come a time when coach Carlisle could harp on one of his own players as the league’s best.