Joel Embiid is in the middle of a tight MVP race with the likes of Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. As the season winds down, players have given their thoughts on who the frontrunner is. Before the Philadelphia 76ers have their rematch against the Chicago Bulls, Bulls star Zach LaVine gave his thoughts on where Embiid stands in the MVP race.
“I think he shoulda won one already,” LaVine said, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I think Jokic has been incredible too. He’s won back-to-back, so you don’t take anything away from him. Obviously, Giannis is incredible. But I think Embiid has it wrapped up this year. He’s that good.”
Johnson added that LaVine works out with Embiid during the offseason – they came in the same draft class in 2014 – and that teammate Nikola Vucevic believes Jokic should be the MVP.
Andre Drummond Believes Joel Embiid is MVP
Before the Sixers took on the Bulls on March 20, former Sixer and current Bull Andre Drummond gushed about Embiid to reporters, believing that he is the MVP this season.
“I wish I could make the decision for the league, but I think he’s an MVP player,” Drummond said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “I think he’s the best big in the league right now along (Nikola) Jokic. Hopefully, they make the right decision. Hopefully, he gets it. I’ll be happy for him, but I think his main focus is winning a championship right now. I think that’s where his mind is at right now. If he gets it, he gets it, but I think he wants the championship more.”
Drummond added that while Embiid is getting recognition for his offensive skillset, what also makes him impressive is his defensive presence on the other side of the floor.
“Everybody looks at him scoring 30 points a night and getting 10/11 rebounds a night, but nobody talks about the two or three blocks he gets a game, too,” Drummond said. “I think him being a defensive presence and anchor for this team is something that should be spoken about more despite his vast amount of points he gets. I think his defensive presence should have some light shed on it.”
Embiid’s presence is affecting the Sixers on both ends of the floor. The Sixers are ranked no. 4 in offensive rating, averaging 117.7 points per 100 possessions, and no. 7 in defensive rating, allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions.
Mike Conley Praises Joel Embiid’s Dominance
During an interview on “The Ryen Russillo Podcast,” Conley explained to Russillo why he believes Embiid is not only MVP but also that his dominance is something he hasn’t seen anywhere else this season.
“I love (Nikola) Jokic, but the two times I played against Joel this year, I think he got 60 the first time we played him in Philly. Then he did similar to us in Minnesota. I think he didn’t even have to play in the fourth quarter but had like 40. I haven’t seen anybody be as dominant as him with my own two eyes this season. He’s been doing it (for) a while. I think Joel has a real chance to be there.”