NoDopeOnSundays wrote: Kurtz wrote:
Philly played us 2x, and the Lakers without LeBron, I wouldn't look too deeply into what they did without Embiid, they lost when they played good teams and the defense was bad in those games. They are worse defensively over the course of the season when he's out of the game. We're not comparing Embiid to his own previous defensive standards, we're comparing him to Jokic, and if you're going by on/off then how is this even a discusssion? Opponents have a 115.1 ORTG when Jokic is on the court and 108.7 when he's off. Trying to minimize the gap between Embiid and Jokic on defense is really the only way anyone can say Jokic is better or more worthy of being MVP. They are both elite offensive players, one if also elite on defense. That is why this thread is full of people just discrediting defense, it's obvious.
The defensive difference for Embiid on/off is relatively miniscule this season, hardly worth mentioning. I agree that Embiid is clearly better defensively than Jokic, but you are attempting to minimize Jokic's offensive advantage by merely stating that they're both elite. Yes - they are both elite at getting baskets, but one guy is the greatest passing NBA center of all time and the other is averaging as many turnovers as assists. Jokic is far more valuable on offense.
Here's the thing, if you're using on/off like this, I don't understand where your argument is coming from that Jokic is far more valuable on offense, the Sixers have a 120.6 ORTG when Embiid is on the court and 108 when he's off. They are worse on defense without him even if it's small, they don't get better defensively when he's off the court like the Nuggets do when Jokic is off. You can't have it both ways, you can't use on/off like this to justify one position, even though on/off paints a completely different picture. The Sixers offense is ugly when Embiid is off the floor, he's valuable on that side of the floor in a different way. Regardless of what the on/off says, I don't think Embiid is as good of an offensive player as Jokic. No, but the gap is much closer there than the chasm that exists on defense, they aren't even in the same ballpark on defense.
I didn't claim that Embiid doesn't help Philly offensively - clearly he's huge for them on that end. Not as big as Jokic, but big. My point was about defense - Embiid has shifted his focus from defense to offense this year, and you can see it in the data.
So when we're talking defensive "chasm" - that just doesn't exist between the two this year. If Embiid played as well defensively as in the past - sure, but this year, while the gap is real, it's hardly a chasm. And as has been mentioned, Embiid has had the benefit of being surrounded by strong defenders and backed up by a strong defensive C, whereas Jokic had no defensive players around him until the Gordon trade.
So indeed, we have Jokic, a superior overall offensive player, vs Embiid a superior defender. Which one is more valuable is subjective, although the modern game seems to value offense a lot more. Had they both played a similar amount of games, I'd have no issue with team record being the tiebreaker. But Embiid's missed games make this an easy call.