The Philadelphia 76ers clinched a playoff spot in their win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 3, and star center Joel Embiid bolstered his case for MVP.
In the victory, he posted 44 points to go along with 17 rebounds and five blocks. This marks his 11th game with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds, making Russell Westbrook and Moses Malone the lone players who have had more games like that in a single season since the 1976-77 merger.
Both of those players won MVP that season, but Embiid has an uphill battle ahead of him despite his monster stats. Depending on who you ask, there are people who believe Giannis Antetokoumpo and Nikola Jokic are ahead of him.
There are still a few games to go, and something working in Embiid’s favor is the fact his team is more successful than Jokic’s, the betting favorite at the moment.
The center has made his appeal to the media, and he thinks that he’s done more than enough to come home with the award.
Embiid Makes His Case
When asked after the win over the Cavs, Embiid says he doesn’t know what else to do if he doesn’t come home with the trophy.
“If it happens, great,” Embiid said. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”
On the year, Embiid is averaging 30.2 points per game to go along with 11.6 rebounds, so it’s clear he’s one of the best players in the league and more than worthy of the MVP. Him coming away with the scoring title isn’t out of the question either, which is just practically unheard of for a center in today’s NBA.
His coach Doc Rivers seems to have his mind made up already.
“I know he’s my guy, obviously,” he said before the win. “He just has done so many things.”
Can He Do It?
There’s certainly a possibility Embiid come could away as the winner of the award, but it seemed like he was losing steam after the Harden trade, and the recent loss to the Pistons sure didn’t help matters.
However, with the Sixers clinching a spot in the playoffs and still fighting for seeding, Embiid could have a few more games up his sleeve. What’s making it hard to pick him over Jokic is just looking at raw statistics.
While Embiid is averaging more points, Jokic is well ahead in both assists and rebounds. The two teams also have the same record and Jokic has been playing without the services of both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
It’ll come down to the wire, but Sixers fans hoping Embiid will come away with the coveted hardware might find themselves disappointed. Of course, having the MVP on your team is nice, but it’d be much nicer to have a championship at the end of the year.
The Sixers are gearing up for a deep run, so it’ll be interesting to see what tricks they still have.