In the spring of 2021, everything changed for the Philadelphia 76ers. The notorious Embiid/Simmons duo that had dominated the East for years suddenly fell apart, and what proceeded was months of a brutal war between Simmons and team GM Daryl Morey.
Caught in the middle of it all was Embiid, who continued to dominate the game like nothing was happening.
This week, he spoke to Warriors star Draymond Green on "The Draymond Green Show." There, he went into details about the Simmons saga and verbalized his take on the ongoing MVP race between him and Nikola Jokic.
"First of all, Jokic is amazing. He's a monster. I only play against twice a year but you know how good he is and I know how good he is because I'm also happy that big guys are dominating the league. When you look at whether it's me or him, Giannis, you know... but it's good to see foreign people dominate you guys [Americans] at your own sport.
I did a lot for campaigning for myself for MVP last year, which could have gone either way. If I would have stayed healthy and it could have gone either way but I was also happy that he won. This year, I feel like I took my game to an even higher level than I did last year, and the knock on me last year was I didn't stay healthy. This year, what more can you ask? Production went higher, I stayed healthy, and we had a lot of drama. You can say that about. a lot of teams but that whole situation was extremely draining. It was tough to go through it."
In their time together, Embiid and Simmons never got past the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite their talent, there was always something in their way.
Now, it's up to James Harden and Embiid to change the narrative for Philly. After arriving to replace Ben, the pressure is on for him to do what his predecessor was never able to. Through the first 8 games, things are looking pretty solid.
As for Embiid, you can't blame him for believing he is the MVP this year. He's averaging 29.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. But with a new partner and a fresh start, his ambitions are higher than securing the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. Now is the time to look forward and charge ahead -- and whether he wins the MVP or not, he will be keeping his squad in contention for a title.