Joel Embiid for NBA MVP 2021: Philadelphia 76ers Star Compares His Number With Shaquille O’Neal to Make His Case

Published 04/22/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Feb 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after a foul call during the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


The Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid has turned things around for the organization this season. Not only that, but he has also added himself to the list of superstars running for the MVP this season. The 76ers have been on a roll ever since the season began. They didn’t let go of the first seed in the Eastern Conference so easily, and when they did, they were without Joel Embiid. In fact, even Embiid knows he deserves the MVP.

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This just goes to show how much he brings to the table for the team. Without him, they had even slid down to the third spot with the Brooklyn Nets taking over. While fans were worried about his return and the team’s fate, he quickly returned to the lineup and got the team back on track. And now, they are back at the top seed with a 39-19 record.

Their success is not solely because of the Embiid. The supporting cast has done brilliantly, and the moves they made this offseason to bring in shooters who were missing last season have filled up all holes. This has only made Embiid’s case for the MVP stronger. But he himself has a justification for why he deserves to win that honor.

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Apr 9, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Joel Embiid (21) is fouled by New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) in the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid draws a parallel between him and Shaquille O’Neal

In an interview with Stephen A. Smith, Embiid compared his stats to that of legendary Shaquille O’Neal when he won his MVP. Embiid said, “We are the best in the East, number one. My numbers are out there. You talk about when Shaq won his MVP, averaging 29.7 and 13 boards. You know I am up there when it comes to stats. And also being the best seed in the East. What more can you ask? You look at the last two MVPs, same thing. Giannis, those were his numbers, and he had the best record in the East.”

Where is the Sixers superstar in the MVP race?

While he was sidelined, Embiid fell behind drastically in the race. Just like LeBron James, his chances at the MVP title looked bleak, but he rallied back as soon as he made his return to the court.

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From being third in the race last week, Embiid has climbed to the second spot. He is averaging a whopping 29.8 points per game and 11 rebounds and piling up victories day in and day out. Although Philly has hit a bit of a slump as they are have lost two straight games recently, they are still stable on top and it doesn’t seem like that will change anytime soon.

For now, Nikola Jokic has remained at the top of the MVP ladder for a long time. It won’t be easy for Embiid to overtake him, but not entirely impossible either. Do you think Embiid deserves the title more than the rest of the players?

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Read also- ‘Wanted To Be Like Hakeem, MJ, and, Giannis’- Joel Embiid Reveals Major Individual Goal In His Career

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Yashima Bhatia

1346 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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