It’s fairly impressive that 31 games can lend itself to the notion of Joel Embiid winning MVP and yet, here we are. Embiid’s unique ability and correlation to team success demonstrated in the small sample size it was has 76ers fans wondering if they may have their first MVP since Allen Iverson in the 2000-01 season.
But what exactly would it take for the 7’2″ Cameroonian to claim the NBA’s most prestigious award? Several impressive feats, none of which fall out of Embiid’s realm of capability.
Wins – the Sixers are going to need them. If Embiid is to have any shot at the MVP, the Sixers as a team must show that they’re a team with a truly valuable player. The history of the award dictates that, unless you average a triple-double, much of the accomplishment is based in team success.
Being that team success in the regular season is largely measured by win totals, the Sixers will need to carry a lofty amount in order for Embiid to garner the attention they need. It’s fair to say that the team must have no fewer than 50 wins. This is very clearly a difficult goal to attain for the current squad, but in a weakened Eastern Conference with a few of Embiid’s teammates exceeding expectations, it becomes a little more realistic. If Brett Brown can combine two accents, anything is possible.
Although they can be fairly hollow (shout out Evan Turner’s 2013-14 season), counting stats play a large role in determining who takes home the MVP Award. With that being so, Embiid must put forth a recognizably impressive statistical output this season. Although difficult to measure what would be impressive as statistical accomplishments are relative to the rest of the league, I’d say there is a ball park Embiid would need to fall in.
To have a meaningful chance, he would likely need to average somewhere around 28 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, two or three assists per game and round it off with no less than two blocks per game. How could Embiid even accomplish that? Joel Embiid is an alien whose per-36 number are not of this earth. When stretching out Embiid’s output over 36 minutes, he averaged 28.7 points, 11.1 rebound, 3.0 assists and 3.5 blocks per game. Look familiar? The guy is absolutely capable with more minutes so long as he stays healthy. For Embiid to win the MVP, he must play no less than 68 games – fingers crossed.
If Russell Westbrook’s MVP campaign taught us anything besides Pettiness 101, it’s that historical feats are weighed heavier in these races. Although I don’t expect Embiid to average a triple-double, there are some notable accomplishments that are in his reach. The most likely would be for the Sixers to be a top-3 defense in the league. Although it may be a huge challenge, I believe with the combination of Brown’s coaching and Embiid and Robert Covington‘s great defense, it’s a distinct possibility. This would garner Embiid Defensive Player of the Year attention furthering his case for MVP.
The most impressive accomplishment within Embiid’s reach would be for him to enter the 50/40/90 club. Last season, Joel shot 46.6% from the field, 36.7% on three-pointers, and 78.3% from the line. With reasonable jumps in field goal and three-point percentage and a sizable increase at the free throw line, he could be onto something. In doing so, Embiid could become the first center in the history of the league to join the club. This may be the unprecedented feat that puts him over the edge against the NBA’s elite.
Although Embiid’s chances may be unlikely, the plausibility of it is rewarding enough. The Sixers have been so starved for a player like Joel that the fan base should appreciate every minute they get. Maybe next summer at the NBA Awards, Drake will be announcing “The Process” as the league’s new MVP.
STATS – basketball-reference.com
PHOTO – zimbio.com