Philadelphia 76er superstar Joel Embiid has been one of the top candidates for the NBA MVP award since the All-Star break. Tuesday night the Sixers big man delivered another MVP level performance during the team’s 131-122 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Embiid poured in 45 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Sixers to their third win in a row. Philly is now 49-30 and is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. However, the team is tied record-wise with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.
MVP for Embiid?
For Embiid his latest performance has become more of the norm this season. The Sixers big man now leads the NBA in scoring at 30.4 points per game and is fifth in rebounding with 11.6 rebounds per game.
Embiid’s performance on Tuesday night was so impressive that he got an unexpected endorsement during his postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
That’s former Sixer Justin Anderson casting his vote for the MVP award and giving an endorsement to Embiid. Anderson spent parts of two seasons with the Sixers from 2016 to 2018. During his time with the Sixers, Anderson played in 62 games averaging 7.1 points per game.
Since leaving the Sixers Anderson has played a season each with the Hawks, Nets, Cavaliers, and Pacers. He still obviously thinks highly of his former teammate Embiid as he showed after last night’s game.
Anderson is currently in his eighth season in the NBA. During his career, he’s averaged 5.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He’s currently on his second 10-day contract with the Pacers after tearing up the G-League this season for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants where he averaged 27.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 22 games.
Embiid’s MVP Chances
Despite the strong season that Embiid has put together, he’s been overtaken as the MVP favorite recently by Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. According to covers.com, Jokic is currently -250 to win the award while Embiid has fallen to second at +200. Beyond those two Giannis Antetokounmpo at +700, Devin Booker at +8000, and Luka Doncic at +12000 have the next shortest odds.
It’s no surprise that Jokic has surprised Embiid as the favorite when you look at the historic numbers he’s putting up. Jokic is averaging 27 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game this season. Those numbers are special because no player has ever notched a 25-13-7 season. Beyond that Jokic also has a player efficiency rating of 32.80, the highest in NBA history.
While those are great numbers Embiid could still have time to swing the vote in his favor. With three games left in the season, the Sixers still have a lot to play for. The Sixers have three winnable games with the Raptors, Pacers, and Pistons which means they could finish anywhere among the top four seeds.
If Embiid is dominant down the stretch and helps the Sixers finish near the top of the standings then it could swing the odds back in Embiid’s favor. Regardless of how the odds shake out, the Sixers will need Embiid to be at his best if the team wants to advance deep into the postseason.