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76ers star Joel Embiid will ‘feel like they hate me’ if he doesn’t win MVP

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Joel Embiid, clearly, feels like he’s earned the league MVP award this season.

The Philadelphia 76ers star, after dropping 44 points and 17 rebounds in their 112-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, isn’t sure what else he could be doing.

“If it happens, great,” Embiid said of the award, via ESPN. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me.

“I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”

Embiid certainly has the stats to back up his MVP argument.

The 28-year-old is averaging a career-high 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season. Only LeBron James, at 30.3 points per game, is scoring more. Embiid has scored at least 40 points with 10 rebounds in 11 games this season, too — something that has only been topped twice since the merger.

Embiid, though, isn’t alone atop the MVP list. Denver Nuggets star and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is having another tremendous season, averaging 26.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and eight assists per game. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is also averaging a career-high 30.1 points and 11.6 rebounds for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The race is essentially down to those three, though Jokic seems to have the edge over Embiid and Antetokounmpo.

As of Monday morning, Jokic was a -245 favorite on BetMGM to win the MVP ahead of both Embiid (at +200) and Antetokounmpo (at +650). Luka Doncic and Devin Booker round out the top five, though they’re both listed at +10000 on BetMGM.

At least in Philadelphia, though, Embiid is winning that race.

“I get to witness his greatness every night,” teammate James Harden said on Sunday, via ESPN. “Obviously, his offensive numbers tonight are self-explanatory. Defensively, he was very active blocking shots, changing shots and clogging up the paint was key.”

Whether the rest of the league feels that way remains to be seen.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid isn't the favorite to win the league MVP award this season. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)