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Joel Embiid On Potentially Not Being Named The MVP: "I'll Feel Like They Hate Me. I Feel Like The Standard For Guys In Philly Or For Me Is Different Than Everyone Else."

Joel Embiid

For much of the season, Joel Embiid has been considered to be the frontrunner for the MVP award this season. The 76ers big man has been on fire, playing elite defense while also being among the top 3 in scoring. Before the trade for James Harden, Embiid has also carried a Philly team without a second star towards the top seeds in the Eastern Conference despite the off-court issues with Ben Simmons. 

However, following the arrival of Harden, Embiid's numbers have dropped a bit while Philly has also struggled from time to time. On top of that, he has lost head-to-head matchups against his main rivals, Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. And this has tanked his stock quite a bit, with both Jokic and Giannis now seemingly ahead of him in the race for the prestigious award. 

Embiid isn't too thrilled at the prospect of not winning though. He spoke recently about how underrated his defensive contribution is and has now addressed how he would feel if someone else were to be named MVP of the league this season (via ESPN). 

"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."

Injuries derailed Embiid last season, with Jokic overtaking him in the race for MVP thanks to his consistently incredible performances. However, this season, Embiid has played in enough games and is contributing at the same level, if not better. The Joker and Giannis have been elite in their own right though, so it seems impossible to tell who will clinch the award. 

The Sixers are just half a game behind the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference with 4 games to play though, so if Embiid can end the season with some monstrous showings and end up taking his team to the number two spot, he might just edge back in front of his competitors and bag the award after all.