James Harden Says His 76ers Teammate Joel Embiid “Deserves” the MVP Award

Joel Embiid during a Celtics v 76ers game
Joel Embiid during a Celtics v 76ers game. Photo by Rob Sambles/Frozen in Motion/REX/Shutterstock

This year’s NBA Most Valuable Player race is tighter than ever, but the Philadelphia 76ers’ superstar James Harden believes there is one player more deserving of the award than others. According to Harden, this season’s MVP is unquestionably his new teammate Joel Embiid.

During a recent chat with the reporters, Harden said that Embiid deserved the MVP honors with his winning “mindset” and performances on the floor.

“He deserves it, man,” Harden said. “I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I already see his mindset. He wants to win. Some guys just want numbers, but he has both. He has the mentality of winning, and he scores the ball at a high level. I think he’s prepared himself, especially coming off last year, for this year to be one of his best years.”

Embiid was in the MVP conversation last season as well, but the award went to Denver Nuggets’ big man Nikola Jokic. However, instead of getting discouraged, the 28-year-old managed to add another level to his game.

In 59 games he played in 2021-22, Embiid is averaging league-leading 29.8 points per game to go with 11.3 rebounds and career-high 4.3 assists. He is also showing up on the other side of the ball, being recognized as one of the NBA’s best defenders.

Thanks to Joel Embiid’s performances, the Philadelphia 76ers remain in the chase for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They are third with a 45-27 record but trail only 1.5 games behind the top-seeded Miami Heat.