Joel Embiid has received endorsements from his coach and teammates as he trails behind Nikola Jokic in the MVP odds.
The Philadelphia 76ers star is fresh off another MVP-caliber performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Sunday, Joel Embiid scored 44 points, had 17 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 assists.
This season, Joel Embiid has 11 games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds. Only Russell Westbrook and Moses Malone have had more in a single season, with 12.
Nikola Jokic is -300 to win NBA MVP with the oddsmakers, while Embiid is the second favourite at +270.
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76ers coach Doc Rivers says Embiid’s leadership is underrated. In fact, Rivers credits him for helping the team through the Ben Simmons trade.
“I know he’s my guy, obviously,” Rivers said before Sunday’s game. “He just has done so many things.
“He was our second-best player at the time and was out, and at the All-Star break when we made the trade, we were a game out of first place in the East,” Rivers said. “There’s a lot to be said about that.”
“If it happens, great,” Embiid said of winning his first MVP. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”
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James Harden got his second triple-double with the 76ers, and finished the game with 21 points.
“I get to witness his greatness every night,” Harden said. “Obviously, his offensive numbers tonight are self-explanatory. Defensively, he was very active blocking shots, changing shots and clogging the paint up was key.”