After two runner-up finishes, Joel Embiid is the presumptive favorite to take home the NBA MVP award this season. Recently, he opened up about why winning the award would mean so much to him.
Speaking to Rachel Nichols on the premiere episode of Headliners With Rachel Nichols, Embiid revealed that he believes other players who say they aren’t driven to win MVP are lying.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 12, 2023
Embarking on his fourth season in the league, the center has worked relentlessly to make his mark. Embiid revealed that the award is the best validation of one’s work as a basketball player. “If I were to win it, it would validate all the work that I put in,” he said candidly. The award is an acknowledgment of the effort and perseverance he has put in over the years.
Embiid’s tone about the award has changed this season. Earlier this season, he said he didn’t care about the MVP race, but now he seems to be singing a different tune. According to Embiid, the recognition of the award signifies that a player didn’t waste their time. “You put in so much work and if you get that recognition, it just validates that you didn’t waste your time,” he added.
Despite being pipped to the award by Nikola Jokic in the last two seasons, Embiid’s performances this season have placed him as the likely favorite to win the coveted award.
The center led the league with 33.1 points per game this season and made a considerable impact on the defensive end for Philadelphia. Jokić, for his part, recently said he doesn’t concern himself with postseason awards at this stage.
But for Embiid, winning the MVP award would validate his hard work and be an acknowledgment of his outstanding performance throughout the season.
Joel Embiid the MVP Frontrunner as Sixers Gear Up for Playoff Run
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is in the race to become the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the third-straight season. Despite finishing as the runner-up in the past two seasons, Embiid has been gaining momentum lately.
Mikal Bridges, who will be facing off against Embiid and the Sixers in the first-round series of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, has recently endorsed Embiid as this year’s MVP, joining other players like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard.
In 66 games this season, Embiid has averaged a league-leading 33 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks per game while shooting at a career-high 55% from the field. He has been an integral part of the Sixers’ success this year, and his dominance on both ends of the court has earned him widespread recognition.
Based on ESPN’s latest straw poll and the public MVP picks of some voters, it seems that Embiid is currently the popular choice for the award. However, the MVP race is always unpredictable, and a lot can change over time.
As the Sixers focus on their playoff run, all eyes will be on Embiid and whether he can finally secure the award that has eluded him for the past two seasons.