Joel Embiid wants to be named MVP

Joel Embiid wants to be named MVP

It has been an interesting season to say the least for the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans. After being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last year, the campaign started with a ton of drama surrounding point guard Ben Simmons. However, Simmons has now been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, while Joel Embiid continues to lead the 76ers forward.

Despite the distraction of the Simmons saga, Philadelphia find themselves in third place in the Eastern Conference with a respectable 35-23 record heading into the All-Star Break. As a result, Embiid believes he should be a top candidate for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

“I don’t want to push for the whole thing, but the way I’ve been playing speaks for itself,” Embiid said during his All-Star Weekend media availability when asked why he should be the league MVP. “Especially with everything we went through, the drama this whole year, obviously missing a big piece and then everything that happened to our team and the way our team is set up.

“So I knew had to take my game to another level whether it was offensively, defensively or playmaking and I’ve got great teammates that are coming in every single day and giving their all on the floor. But it always goes back to winning. As long as we win I’ll be at that level and have a chance to win it all and win the MVP.

“But to answer your question, the play speaks for itself. Every single night that’s what I’ve been doing offensively and defensively and I don’t plan on stopping.”

Embiid does have a strong case to win the award this season, as he leads the NBA in scoring with 29.6 points per game to go along with his 11.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He is having the best campaign of his career to date.

“When you look at it, yes, so far,” he responded when asked if this was indeed the best point of his career. “There’s still another level that I can get to, that I believe I can get to. And I plan to keep working to reach that level. Last year was great [but] this year I really had to take my game to an even higher level than last year.

“[So] I would say yes, so far, but [there’s] still another level I can get to.”

It’s remarkable to think Embiid has another level he can reach, considering how good he has been this year. It is easy to see that he has been working hard on both his physical conditioning as well as his skills on the court.

“That level is the last two years I really worked on my body and the results are showing,” Embiid said. “I still feel like I’m not there. I’m not close to where I want to be when it comes to my body, so I feel like once I get to that level, a lot of times, most of the time, I play I’m 100 percent, but to be asked to do everything offensively and defensively it takes a toll, it’s hard.

“There’s not a lot of guys that can do that in the league, so I really believe once I get to that level…I don’t get a lot of respect when it comes to my defense. So, I want to be able to be this great offensive player and I already think defensively I’m up there but I really want to earn that respect when it comes to defense, but it takes a lot. It takes your body to be in the best shape possible and I think that’s where I got to get to.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Embiid does with the 76ers’ newest addition, James Harden. Philadelphia received Harden as part of the Simmons trade, but he has yet to make his debut due to a hamstring injury.