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Could the 76ers' Joel Embiid be this season's MVP?

The 76ers center Joel Embiid believes he has what it takes to be the NBA's MVP for this season. The question that needs answering? Is he right?

The 76ers center Joel Embiid believes he has what it takes to be the NBA's MVP for this season. The question that needs answering? Is he right?

The Sixers' big man in the middle was frank when asked why he should be named the league's MVP. Does he have a point?

Sixers Joel Embiid isn't short on self belief

Although the Sixers have seen their fortunes fluctuate this season, not to mention the back and forth that they endured due to the Ben Simmons saga, the reality is one thing has remained constant and that's the performances of center Joel Embiid. Indeed when asked on Saturday evening whether or not he should be the recipient of the NBA's award for Most Valuable Player on the season, Embiid was straight forward. "I don't want to push for the whole thing, but the way I've been playing speaks for itself." Speaking during an All-Star weekend press event, Embiid went further saying, "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."

"So 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." Of course the interesting thing is that Embiid's words are a reflection of reality. The center has lead the NBA in scoring right up to the All-Star weekend break with an average of 29.6 points per game along with 11.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists. To add even further weight to those numbers is the fact that it's largely been done in the absence of Ben Simmons who demanded a trade.

Joel Embiid and the 76ers get an upgrade

With Simmons' departure there was an initial fear that Philadelphia would be unable to rebuild in the right way, after all they were losing an All-Star playmaker and defensive stalwart. That, however, now a distant memory as the trade saw another All-Star arrive in the form of James Harden who was also accompanied by Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and a pair of first-round picks. Embiid. With those shrewd acquisitions, Embiid most definitely gained weapons as Philadelphia look to win their first title in more than four decades.

For more from the NBA

Needless to say that brings the focus back to the MVP conversation. Having placed second in last season's voting, Embiid is now in prime position to clinch the award. It doesn't hurt of course that his team are still in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, meaning he will still have many more opportunities to showcase what he's really made of. "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."

Joel Embiid version 2.0

Having set the bar very high, the Sixers big man knows it will take more than just desire to go above and beyond. Asked how he would take things to that next level, Embiid alluded to his physical condition. Though he was quick to point out that he is happy with his progress, he made it clear that he has some work to do if he's to become truly dominant on both sides of the court. "That level is the last two years I really worked on my body and the results are showing," he said. "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 defense. 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 defense, 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."


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