Joel Embiid has been in stellar form in the 2020-21 NBA campaign, playing a crucial role in leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the first seed in the East. He is a favorite for the NBA MVP award, with only Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic currently rivaling him for the coveted prize.
Joel Embiid declares himself as the favorite to win the NBA MVP award
Philadelphia 76ers' center Joel Embiid sat down with The Athletic's Shams Charania today, and revealed who he thinks should be awarded with the NBA MVP award at the end of the campaign.
“There’s no doubt (I’m MVP). I’ve been dominant all season. I’m not going to stop," said Joel Embiid.
The Cameroonian big also shared what helped him have a monstrous season both statistically and in terms of impact on the court.
"Shaquille O'Neal opened my eyes to actually realize that I can be that guy,” said the Philadelphia 76ers star.
Joel Embiid was repeatedly coaxed by Shaquille O'Neal to step up his game, and the dominant center has done just that this year. He has averaged an incredible 30 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists on 51-38-85 splits, showcasing his ability to be a volume scorer while being efficient from the field. He has also racked up a steal and 1.4 blocks, doing it on both ends for Doc Rivers' team.
Joel Embiid is known to be vocal about his abilities, but this season he has walked the talk, registering his name amongst the top-five players in the league. He had competition from the likes of LeBron James and Damian Lillard in the initial phase of the season for the MVP award, but as the campaign has progressed, there is only one player looking over his shoulders - Nikola Jokic.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and Brooklyn Nets look like the only team that can present a threat to them in the Conference Finals. The defense, led by Joel Embiid, has been top notch, as they are second only to the LA Lakers in terms of defensive rating. The offense has been impressive as well, and they look all set to make a deep playoff run.