Joel Embiid signed a new record, Friday, April 16, with the Philadelphia 76ers against the Los Angeles Clippers (106-103). Author of 36 points and 14 rebounds, the Cameroonian has had a huge season in the NBA. The pivot connects high-level performance, so that they are named among the favorites for the title of best player (MVP).
“MVP! MVP! “: These are the three letters sung by the 4,000 spectators at the Wells Fargo Center, the basketball temple where the Philadelphia 76ers (” Sixers “) play on Friday to greet the team’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers (106 -103) and especially for to give an ovation Joel embiid. Three letters for the most valuable players, the award for the best player of the season.
The statuette symbolizing the award is not yet in the hands of Cameroonians. The season is still long: the regular phase ends in just one month, then comes the playoffs between May and July. But Joel Embiid is one of the favorites for this prestigious award.
Against the Clippers, the 27-year-old pivot still scored 36 points and took 14 rebounds. Since 2006, no Sixers player had played three games in a row with more than 35 points on the clock.
In Iverson’s footsteps despite his injury
The Embiid show is in line with previous big matches from the child from Yaoundé. On February 19, the man nicknamed “The Process” hit 50 points (and 17 rebounds) against the Chicago Bulls, his career record. A record and a taste of nostalgia among the Sixers: no Philadelphia player had scored 50 points since 2005 and a certain Allen Iverson, the last 76s to be named MVP (2001).
The giant has an average of 30 points and 11 rebounds during the 2020-2021 season. Before his 50 points went to the Bulls, number 21 had already crossed 40 points four times. And unlike other ranks, he does not tremble on the free throw line. And believing that a nasty twist of the left knee made the fear worse … On March 12, after a successful thump against the Utah Jazz, Joel Embiid injured his left knee.
One feared a premature end to the season, but in the end the Cameroonian missed “only” ten matches between March and April. Ten matches that his teammates could manage without him (seven wins, three losses). And since he returned, “JoJo” has resumed his unstoppable march forward. Sixers lead the Eastern Conference with 39 victories and almost 70% victories.
The competition is tough with Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Harden …
In agreement with the Philadelphia public, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid’s “lieutenant”, is convinced: “I clearly believe that MVP this season is him. He dominates so much!” What does the person think about it? Before pushing the Clippers, the pivot had admitted that he felt “well placed” in this race, but obviously not everything depends on him.
First, those 18 matches that are missed in total can serve him. And then the competition is tough. James Harden, winner 2018 and passed in January from Houston Rockets to Brooklyn Nets, is there. The Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), which was awarded in 2019 and 2020, would well be given three points. And Serbian Nikola Jovic of the Denver Nuggets is quoted as the next MVP. According to a recent survey by the American channel ESPN, the latter is even largely at the forefront of voting intentions.
Nothing is played, but Joel Embiid has a card to play. His chances can only increase with his current performance. If he were selected for the 2020-2021 season, Cameroon would be the second African player MVP in NBA history after Hakeem Olajuwon 1993-1994 (Giannis Antetokounmpo, he was born to Nigerian parents, but he has Greek nationality and plays for the Greek selection).