James Harden want to assume he is aware of an MVP when he sees one, having gained the award himself in 2018 and performed alongside two others in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. And in Harden’s ebook, his new teammate, Philadelphia 76ers heart Joel Embiid, “deserves” to win the award this season.
“He deserves it, man,” Harden instructed ESPN. “I’ve solely been right here for just a few weeks, however I already see his mindset. He desires to win. Some guys simply need numbers, however he has each. He has the mentality of profitable, and he scores the ball at a excessive stage. I believe he is ready himself, particularly coming off final 12 months, for this 12 months to be one among his finest years.”
Harden mentioned that, in his thoughts, an MVP must be “dominant” on the courtroom and “impactful when it comes to profitable,” which provides Embiid and the Sixers (45-27), who’re 1½ video games again of first place within the Jap Convention, an edge over his chief rival for the award, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets (43-31), who’re sixth within the West.
“A lot of the video games he is performed this 12 months, we have been preventing for the No. 1 seed,” Harden mentioned of Embiid. “And he isn’t solely prime 2, prime 3 in scoring, however he is impactful to our crew profitable.”
Jokic and Embiid completed 1-2 in final season’s voting and are anticipated to be two of the highest three candidates — together with the Milwaukee Bucks‘ Giannis Antetokounmpo — for the award this season.
Embiid is second within the NBA in scoring (29.8 PPG); Jokic (26.2) is tenth. Jokic is second within the league in rebounding (13.5 RPG); Embiid (11.3) is seventh. Jokic leads the league in effectivity (37.6); Embiid is third (33.0). Embiid leads Jokic in defensive score (107.4 to 109.1), whereas Jokic leads Embiid in assists (7.9 to 4.3).
Initially, it was believed that Harden’s commerce from Brooklyn to Philadelphia on Feb. 18 would diminish Embiid’s statistical prowess and, thus, his MVP case. Nevertheless, Embiid has averaged extra factors (30.6) and rebounds (11.8) because the commerce than earlier than it.