For a hot minute, it looked like Joel Embiid was the favorite to win the NBA’s MVP award this season. The Philadelphia 76ers are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and Embiid has been playing at an incredibly high level. He’s averaging 29.7 points a game, which is fourth-best in the league.
Unfortunately for Embiid, his MVP chances are going to be hurt by the fact that he misses a lot of games due to injury. He’s already missed six games and will likely miss more as the season goes on. When he played the Los Angeles Lakers last month, LeBron James didn’t help things when he shoved Embiid and caused him to land hard on his back.
LeBron received a flagrant foul for the play and nothing else. Embiid is still feeling the effects of it and blamed the Lakers star for the lingering pain.
“That’s when it started,” Embiid said of LeBron’s foul. “But it’s not alarming. As NBA players, we play every single night and the body is just sore. You just got to take care of yourself. It’s normal. It’s just tightness. As the days go by, some days it is tighter than usual, some days it’s not. Today, when we started the game, it was tighter than usual.”
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Embiid Had Stronger Thoughts on Foul Previously
Embiid is playing nice now in regards to LeBron foul but it wasn’t always that way. He had some strong comments previously.
“Well, first of all, I mean you look at it, that’s a very dangerous play,” Embiid said back in January. “I guarantee you that if it was me, I would have probably been ejected from the game, which has happened in the past with me getting flagrant fouls really for nothing.”
While the foul clearly has affected Embiid, he’s very fortunate that the injury wasn’t worse. He’s never played over 64 games in a season due to injury problems. In fact, he couldn’t even play in his first two seasons due to a foot issue. Hopefully, his body can hold up this season as he’s been playing the best basketball of his career.
LeBron’s MVP Chances Keep Increasing
Embiid is having an amazing season but it’s going to be really hard for him to win the MVP. With Anthony Davis expected to miss significant time, LeBron is going to be running the show in Los Angeles. He was already having an MVP-level season with Davis healthy. Now there’s no one to steal the spotlight from him.
If LeBron can lead the Lakers to a good record before Davis returns, it will be hard to say there is a player who is more valuable. At 36-years-old, he would be the oldest player to ever win league MVP. That’s no small feat from a player who has defied Father Time for a while now. There’s still a lot of season left but LeBron’s case for MVP gets stronger and stronger each game.