Joel Embiid has been a dominant force ever since he stepped foot on the NBA court, but this season he’s taken another step into the MVP conversation by consistently and routinely putting up monster performances for the top team in the Eastern Conference. The MVP race this season starts with Nikola Jokic, who has been unreal for the Nuggets, but for many it is rounding into a race between he and Joel Embiid, with Stephen Curry making his own push as well.
Embiid is posting career-best scoring figures, with 30.3 points per game on 51.5 percent shooting, including 38.7 percent from three-point range, along with 11.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. His two-way play is the biggest argument people make for him against Jokic, as he’s producing offensively with similar scoring to Denver’s star big man while adding elite defense on the other end. That’s the argument Embiid makes himself, likening his season to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo the last two seasons, telling Shams Charania that he has “no doubt” he’s the MVP.
76ers star Joel Embiid sits down with @Stadium: “There’s no doubt (I’m MVP). I’ve been dominant all season. I’m not going to stop.” On motivation from feeling disrespected and frustrated last season, Shaq’s criticism “opened my eyes to actually realize that I can be that guy.” pic.twitter.com/Ud3O2APOkV
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 22, 2021
It should come as little surprise that Embiid is making his MVP pitch, as Curry recently did the same. As Embiid notes, it all starts with doing it on a top team, as he knows individual accolades are always tied, in some way, to team performance as well. What is working against Embiid maybe more than anything else is that he’s missed 18 games, where Jokic has played in every game this season while having the impact he’s had on keeping the Nuggets in the top-4 of the West.
Still, there’s a few more weeks for everyone in the MVP race to put the finishing touches on their campaigns, and while saying you’re “no doubt” the MVP or “I gotta be” the MVP, as Embiid and Curry have, what they do down the stretch on the floor will be far more impactful in possibly swaying voters to their side.