New NBA rule will end former Kansas basketball player Joel Embiid's MVP hopes

The former Jayhawk's hopes of winning back-to-back MVP awards are over

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Former Kansas basketball center Joel Embiid has budded into one of the best players in recent NBA history over the past few years, winning his first-ever MVP last year and consecutive scoring titles. He is less than two weeks removed from a 70-point outing and is averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 34 games played.

He seemed poised to win a slew of prestigious awards at the end of the season, but injuries continue to be a recurring theme in Embiid's career, and he tore his left meniscus against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. A domino effect is that a new rule implemented by the league could effectively end his MVP hopes this month.

WHAT IS THE 65-GAME RULE IN THE NBA?

Over the offseason, it was decided that players must appear in a minimum of 65 games for 20+ minutes in order to be eligible for postseason honors like the MVP award. That means any individual who is absent 18 or more games wouldn't be qualified.

The Philadelphia 76ers have played 47 regular season games, and Embiid has not played in 13. He will be held out over the weekend while the team considers what to do with his injury.

If he undergoes surgery, the big man would miss 6-to-8 weeks as a general timeline. That alone would immediately eliminate him from contention. With four games left to spare, it has become virtually impossible for Embiid to win an MVP or make an All-NBA team for the 2023-24 season — even with his otherworldly statistics.

The league has been under some scrutiny for the rule. Warriors forward Draymond Green claimed Embiid tried to play through his injury so he could maintain eligibility for the award. Ultimately, he suffered a new ailment and will now miss extended time.

Philly is still looking to make its first-ever Eastern Conference Finals since Embiid landed in The City of Brotherly Love, so it is best for the team to play it safe and hold him out until he is back to full health. That being said, it is unfortunate that Kansas basketball fans won't have an alum representing the Jayhawks with the league's most coveted regular season award like last year.

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