Before the Philadelphia 76ers took on the Chicago Bulls on March 20, former Sixers center Andre Drummond gave his thoughts about Joel Embiid‘s MVP campaign this season to reporters, praising his former teammate for how well he’s played.
“I wish I could make the decision for the league, but I think he’s an MVP player. I think he’s the best big in the league right now, along(side) Jokic…Hopefully, he gets it,” Drummond said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire.
Drummond added that he believes Embiid is focused on other goals besides winning the Most Valuable Player award.
“I think his main focus is (to) win a championship right now. I think that’s where his mind is — if he gets it, he gets it — but I think he wants to win the championship,” Drummond said, per Justin Grasso of Sports Illustrated.
Embiid and Drummond were teammates during the 2021-22 season, as Drummond played the role of Embiid’s backup. That was before Drummond was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the package deal that netted James Harden.
Doc Rivers Wishes MVP Candidates Wouldn’t Get Put Down
While stating that he believes that Embiid is the MVP, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers added that other players in the running should not be brought down to prop up Embiid.
“I’m going to say this one more time,” he told reporters, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m going to try to stay off this subject. Joel is the MVP, but I want to make a point. Can we stop trying to put people down? We should be celebrating different guys in the league.”
According to Pompey, “Rivers believes Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum are all great players.”
Rivers added that they are all different players and that Embiid doesn’t even need his approval for his MVP campaign.
“We don’t need to push one down to elevate the other guy,” Rivers said. “They all are completely different players. They are. Joel, in my opinion, is the best of that, and I don’t think anyone needs me to campaign for him.”
George Karl Does Not Believe Joel Embiid Should Win MVP
In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, NBA Hall of Fame coach George Karl explained why he believes Embiid should not win MVP.
“(Embiid) takes too many possessions off,” Karl said. “He has lazy body language. He gets angry at things that we don’t understand why. I just don’t know if he’s that NBA pro that we all loved because he’s a competitive SOB.”
Karl went on to praise Embiid, but he also explained who he believes should win the award instead of the Sixers’ center.
“From what I know in Philadelphia, everybody says he’s playing great. In games I’ve seen, he played really, really well. He’s played great in the 4th quarters, came up with a lot of comeback wins. I can only like one big guy, and I take Jokic over Embiid.”
Whether Karl’s assessment of Embiid is accurate or not, Embiid is putting up some of the best numbers of his career, averaging 33.5 points with an effective field goal percentage of 57.3%.