Can Joel Embiid Claim the MVP Title This Season?

If you’re an NBA fan, especially a 76ers supporter, you’re all up to date with the story of Joel Embiid. There’s a good chance you know about his life story even if you support one of his NBA opponents. Truly an inspiring story, Joel’s journey from Cameroon to the USA at 16 is worthy of a movie. However, this article won’t focus only on his incredible evolution, we’re also analyzing his chances of becoming NBA’s MVP title this year, his 8th season for the 76ers.

Proud of His African Roots

With every occasion, Joel is quick to highlight that his African origin has massively contributed to where he is today. Those of you that don’t know his impressive story, here is a brief summary of his life’s journey. 

Embiid was born on the 16th March, 1994 in Yaounde, Cameroon. His father was a military officer and from an early age Embiid learned discipline and what it takes to succeed. Oddly enough, basketball wasn’t his first choice when it comes to sports. He started playing football (soccer) with his childhood friends on the streets of Yaounde and then switched to volleyball. 

The initial plan was for Joel to pursue a professional volleyball career in Europe. However,  everything changed at the age of 15 when he first started playing basketball. He was a natural talent and started modeling his gameplay after Hakeem Olajuwon – the NBA Hall of Fame center player. 

While he was at a basketball camp, fellow Yaounde native and NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute discovered him and quickly became his mentor. It wasn’t long until he moved to the US to devote himself to becoming a professional player within the NBA. 

NBA Debut

After playing college basketball for the University of Kansas, Joel was taken 3rd overall in the NBA Draft in 2014. However, he underwent surgery for a broken navicular bone in the right foot. Despite the medical complications, he was picked by the 76’ers and the initial time away from the basketball court was 6 months. 

His first year with the 76’ers didn’t include any match time due to the broken navicular bone. However, things turned from bad to worse when a CT scan revealed less healing than anticipated. After a second round of surgery, his chances of playing in the 2015-16 season were still very low. It turned out that he will not play in 2015-2016 either but the 76’ers continued to believe in him. 

Rookie Season 2016-2017

With his foot injury behind him, Joel started at center for the 76ers’ in the preseason game against the Celtics. He gathered six points, two blocks, and four rebounds in 13 minutes. The game was won by the 76es’ 92-89 and it was a promising start for the African player. Embiid continued to improve his form match after match and by the end of the season he got a spot in the NBA All-Rookie First Team. 

NBA All-Star Status

With huge plans for the 2017-2018 season, Joel grew from one game to the other and got a spot in the All-Star and All-NBA teams. He was the first Philadelphia player to join the All-Star game since 2010. In that game he scored 26 points and got 16 rebounds. It was all upwards from there as he simply got better season after season. So, is 2022 the year he’ll get the MVP title? 

Joel’s Chances at Getting MVP Honors

Embiid continues to dominate his opponents with an average of 31,1 points and 12,4 rebounds per game over the last 15. Looking at these numbers it’s easy to understand why Joel is one of the favorites for getting the MVP title this season. 

This outcome seems to be agreed upon by bookmakers as well that see him as favorite. Despite a small increase in odds compared to February, Embiid is still one of the clear favorites at the moment.

The prestigious title was won by Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2019 and 2020 while Nikola Jokic got it in 2021. With great chances at carrying Philadelphia back to the postseason, Embiid is one of the favorites to get the MVP title at season’s end. 

Especially now that the 76ers’ added James Harden to the roster, Embiid’s chances should go up. First of all, it will take some pressure off Joel who was forced to go at it alone the entire season so far. So, we all look forward to the moment of truth when the MVP title is awarded for the current NBA season.  

What do you think? Will Joel crown an excellent career with the MVP title this season? It’s, without any doubt, his best so far and it would be about time for him to grab the award and possibly earn his place in the Hall of Fame as well. 

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