If 11 games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds—including 44 and 17 with 17 free throws and five blocks in Sunday’s 112-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers—this season isn’t enough to win MVP, what is?

That’s the question the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid has been asking himself.

Only Russell Westbrook (12) and Moses Malone (12) have had more “40+ and 10+” games in a season since the merger (1976-77)—and both won MVPs in those seasons.

“If it happens, great,” Embiid said. “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.”


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Denver Nuggets center and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is Embiid’s main competition for the award.

“I know he’s my guy, obviously,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said prior to Sunday’s game. “He just has done so many things.”

He also credited Embiid for keeping the team afloat throughout Ben Simmons’ trade demand episode.

“He was our second-best player at the time and was out, and at the All-Star break when we made the trade, we were a game out of first place in the East,” Rivers said. “There’s a lot to be said about that.”

The 28-year-old Embiid is averaging 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists this year.

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