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The issue of who wins the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is always one of the biggest narratives in any NBA season, and that’s certainly the case again in 2021-22.
One of the leading contenders is Cameroonian Joel Embiid, who has argued that his form amidst many difficulties and upheaval at the Philadelphia 76ers this season should put him at the head of the line for the award.
“I don’t want to push for the whole thing, but the way I’ve been playing speaks for itself,” Embiid explained. “Especially with everything we went through, the drama this whole year, obviously missing a big piece and then everything that happened to our team and the way our team is set up.”
Embiid added, “I knew I had to take my game to another level whether it was offensively, defensively or playmaking and I’ve got great teammates that are coming in every single day and giving their all on the floor.
“But it always goes back to winning. As long as we win I’ll be at that level and have a chance to win it all and win the MVP. But to answer your question, the play speaks for itself. Every single night that’s what I’ve been doing offensively and defensively and I don’t plan on stopping.”
The Cameroonian star has been racking up impressive numbers all season for Philadelphia – and that’s despite the 76ers having key man Ben Simmons demanding a trade throughout the campaign. That issue was recently resolved with a trade which saw James Harden arrive from the Brooklyn Net and Simmons head into the opposite direction.
Nonetheless, Embiid remains the man who must carry Philadelphia’s hopes of winning a first NBA Championship in almost 40 years. The player believes he is in the form of his life, but adds that he’s not reached his limit of performance level yet.
“When you look at it, yes, so far,” he said. “There’s still another level that I can get to, that I believe I can get to. And I plan to keep working to reach that level. Last year was great [but] this year I really had to take my game to an even higher level than last year. [So] I would say yes, so far, but [there’s] still another level I can get to.”
He added, “That level is the last two years I really worked on my body and the results are showing. I still feel like I’m not there. I’m not close to where I want to be when it comes to my body, so I feel like once I get to that level, a lot of times, most of the time, I play I’m 100 percent, but to be asked to do everything offensively and defensively it takes a toll, it’s hard.
“There’s not a lot of guys that can do that in the league, so I really believe once I get to that level … I don’t get a lot of respect when it comes to my defence. So, I want to be able to be this great offensive player and I already think defensively I’m up there but I really want to earn that respect when it comes to defence, but it takes a lot. It takes your body to be in the best shape possible and I think that’s where I got to get to.”
Catch the following NBA Regular Season games this week…
All times CAT
Saturday 19 March
03:00: Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz – LIVE on ESPN
Sunday 20 March
21:30: Indiana Pacers v Portland Trail Blazers – LIVE on ESPN 2