Following the Philadelphia 76ers‘ victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 7, Joel Embiid was asked his thoughts on how motivated he is when matching up with two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. In so doing, Embiid talked about award races, specifically about Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
“It doesn’t necessarily motivate me, but it’s the same thing with every big in the league. It doesn’t matter who I play. I just feel like I’m going to do my thing regardless. I’m going to dominate. It’s no disrespect to any of them. MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m still going to be the best player on the floor,” Embiid said.
Embiid then gave his thoughts on the current frontrunner for the MVP award.
“I don’t know. That’s not for me to answer. I feel like, obviously, being in the running for the last few years has been whatever, and this year I’ve taken a different approach, trying to focus on the right things: win games, dominate, which I’ve been doing. Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, it would mean a lot to win one. That’s the best award anyone can get, but, like I said, I’m just focused on making sure on, first of all, staying healthy, winning games, and dominating.”
Embiid Ranked No. 4 on MVP Rankings
Michael C. Wright singled out Embiid’s performance against the Dallas Mavericks as proof of why he has a high ranking.
“Embiid held his own and dominated inside during Thursday’s loss to Doncic and the Mavericks, as Philadelphia outscored the home team 60-34 in the paint with the Sixers big man contributing 35 points (13-for-21 shooting) with eight rebounds and two steals.”
Wright then explained why Embiid maintains the no. 4 seed over Luka Doncic despite the Sixers’ rough stretch.
“Despite the setback in Dallas and the fact Philadelphia has now lost three of its last four games, Embiid maintains his standing above Doncic in this race. The 28-year-old admirably continues to fight through foot issues while carrying his team, which is currently No. 3 in the East. Before hitting this latest rough spot, Philadelphia had won five in a row.”
Pacers Star Singles Out Embiid
After the Sixers beat the Pacers on March 6, Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton revealed the one reason why the Sixers managed to beat their conference rival.
“They have Joel Embiid,” Haliburton said. “I mean, he’s a monster. He’s tough to guard. He gets to the free throw line at will. He didn’t miss a free throw. He’s so skilled. He can score on any level.”
While Haliburton singled out Embiid primarily, he also shouted out some of the other Sixers for their efforts.
“I give kudos to those other guys. They stepped up a lot. (Jalen) McDaniels, Tyrese (Maxey) was really hot early and kept it going throughout the game. Danuel House hit some big shots. They had a lot of guys step up that helped alongside that, so when they’re clicking like that, they’re a really tough team to beat.”