Recently, Joel Embiid sat down with ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth and chatted on subjects like his comments about Sixers fans want to trade him, nearly missing out on two MVPs, where he ranks in the top scorer’s pecking order, James Harden as a Sixer, and more.
This year, the Sixers superstar is averaging 32.5 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, 4.7 dimes, 1.6 blocks, 1.2 steals, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, and 81 percent from the stripe on over 12 free throw attempts per game. The points, assists, steals, and field goal percentage would all be career highs is they stuck. The team is 13-9 with him in the lineup this campaign. And only six of those 22 featured both James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
Let’s look at a couple of the more fun sound bytes from the Sixers’ once again MVP candidate.
Hubbarth asked Embiid if he really thinks Sixers fans want to trade him, something he recently told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer. Here was his seemingly candid reply:
“I don’t know. Sometimes you need motivation, whatever helps you play better or makes you better. But I’ve seen a lot in the past that [our fans] can be tough. I’ve been here for a long time that’s why it doesn’t get to me. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
On the trying times including The Process, the Kawhi Leonard four-bouncer, and the Ben Simmons saga:
“I’ve been through a lot. Sometimes I think I’m unlucky but then again also I’m extremely lucky at the same time.”
On the back-to-back MVP runner ups.
“It’s unfortunate, I could’ve won at least one of those if not two. But going into this year I just [wanted to] be the best version of myself.”
Do you feel like you’re the best scorer in the league?
“I think I’m the best. I can score anywhere on the floor. There’s no move that I don’t have in my repertoire.”
On Harden’s evolution in Philly:
“I think he’s at a position in his career he has to be more of a playmaker, you can see by the numbers, this year he’s probably gonna lead the league in assists.”
On this idea it’s the Celtics and the Bucks and everyone else in the East.
“When we are at our best we can beat anybody. It’s going to be almost impossible to beat us.”
So I guess he was at least partially trolling us when he said Sixers fans want to trade him; using that as motivation to amp himself up. He’s right, it is tough he lost out on the two MVPs. Nikola Jokic won the availability argument back in 2021, but last year was closer. Folks who value defense more might have voted for Joel. It’s interesting he says Harden needs to be more of a playmaker. I wonder if the unspoken idea here is that he’s lost a step, so he can’t score 30-plus that often now. One thing about Joel, he’s never one to leave us bored.