Among those who are taking notice of Joel Embiid‘s play this season is Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, who singled out Embiid’s play during his postgame press conference after the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Pacers.
During his postgame press conference, Carlisle explained why he believes Embiid is the current frontrunner for MVP.
“Right now, (Embiid’s) probably the MVP with what their team is doing and how he’s elevated his game,” Carlisle told reporters, per Bally Sports Indiana’s YouTube channel. “He’s as difficult a guy to game plan for as there is in the game. Giannis (Antetokounmpo) is crazy ridiculous. (Nikola) Jokic is (the) same, and this guy may be even more difficult if that’s possible.”‘
Carlisle referenced Embiid’s performance against the Pacers as proof of how dominant he is as a player.
“This guy had 31 points in three quarters and made it look like he wasn’t even trying to do it,” Carlisle said. “He’s a walking NBA cheat code right now. He’s just that good.”
Embiid Ranked No. 1 on NBA MVP Rankings
On March 17, Michael C. Wright of NBA.com ranked Embiid no. 1 in his MVP rankings, citing Embiid’s scoring streak and his performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers as proof of why he is ranked among the best of the best.
“Seven straight 30-point performances push the NBA’s top scorer to No. 1 in this week’s MVP Ladder. Embiid churned out another gem on Wednesday against Cleveland’s No. 2-rated defense with 36 points, 18 rebounds, and three blocks, marking the third-straight outing the big man has racked up at least 30 points with three blocks.”
Wright also cited the only other Hall-of-Fame NBA center who has accomplished such a feat and how that has played a role in how well the Sixers have played on the role.
“The 29-year-old became the first player since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to accomplish that feat, and he took advantage of every opportunity in knocking down all 10 of his free-throw attempts. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Embiid leads a Sixers squad that is 20-12 on the road with nine more games away from home left on the schedule.
Draymond Green Says Embiid is MVP Frontrunner
On the March 14 episode of “The Draymond Green Show,” Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green explained why he believes Embiid is the frontrunner for the MVP award, though he admits that it’s neck-and-neck between him and the other candidates.
“In my MVP race with 13 games to go or however many games these teams got, I think Joel has started to create a little separation now. Saying that, it’s still super close, so that can still change, but I think right now, when the next MVP ladder comes out, if it comes out within the next week or so and Joel continues this, Joel gotta take the no. 1 spot because I think he’s been playing that way, his team’s been winning, and then also like I said, if you look at the Nuggets, they’ve had a little slippage. They’ve lost a few games, and that matters in this tight MVP race.”