Upon hearing that Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid had put up 52 points against the Boston Celtics on April 4, former Sixers and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler supports his former teammate’s campaign for the league’s Most Valuable Player and then some.
“Joel’s the MVP,” Butler said, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “He should’ve been MVP last year too.”
Embiid finished second in MVP voting last season, falling behind only Nikola Jokic, which happened to be the second consecutive year Embiid had fallen behind Jokic for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Butler played with Embiid on the Sixers during the 2018-19 season before leaving for the Heat the following offseason. Though the two were only teammates for partially one season, Embiid also thinks highly of Butler, praising him on May 12, the day the Heat eliminated the Sixers from the 2022 NBA Playoffs to the point where he questioned why the Sixers let him go.
“I’m happy for him,” Embiid told reporters. “I won’t sit here and say I didn’t wish he was my teammate. I still don’t know how we let him go. I wish I could’ve gone to battle with him still, but it is what it is. Just gotta keep building and keep tryna reach that goal.”
The two former teammates will square off on April 6.
Doc Rivers Says NBA MVP Race is Over
Following Embiid’s 52-point performance against the Celtics, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers declared the MVP race to be finished while also criticizing the Sixers’ performance against their division rival.
“There’s so many things that we did wrong, but what we did right was Joel Embiid,” Rivers told reporters. “The MVP race is over. Tonight we couldn’t make shots. We had guys making wide-open shots. The man just scored half our points in an NBA game. And I’m biased, but the MVP race is over.”
With the 52 points he scored, Embiid accounted for technically over 50% of the Sixers’ points against the Celtics. The Sixers next two highest scorers were James Harden with 20 points and PJ Tucker with 11 points. No one else on their side scored in double figures.
Stephen Curry Has Joel Embiid as MVP
“I would say Joel,” Curry told Haynes.
Curry elaborated on why he picked Embiid, saying that Embiid has taken another leap this season, which has helped the Sixers as a team quite a bit this season.
“Any person you pick, their body of work could be compared to Jokić or Giannis (Antetokoumpo),” Curry said. “But Joel took a leap that I think a lot of people didn’t expect because he was dominant already. That leap turned heads and put Philly in a great position. If I had to pick, it would be him.”
Curry himself has won the award two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016, and his ascension as a player in that time helped ascend the Warriors into becoming NBA champions as well as consecutive NBA Finals appearances.