Joel Embiid on Focusing On the ‘Bigger Picture’: ‘Which Is to Win the Whole Thing’

After the 76ers lost Game 5 to the Heat, 120-85, Joel Embiid was asked about his reaction to finishing as the MVP runner-up to defending winner Nikola Jokic who reportedly won his second consecutive MVP award on Monday.

Embiid answered that he wasn’t surprised by the news, claiming that he had been expecting the result since a straw poll by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps toward the end of the regular season indicated that most voters were leaning towards making Jokic a back-to-back MVP. The mindset resulted in Embiid not being as upset about being snubbed for the second year.

“Obviously, congrats to Nikola; he deserved it. He had an amazing season. There’s no right or wrong. There was a lot of candidates. It could have gone either way. Giannis, Devin Booker being on the best team in the league by far, so I guess every year it’s all about whatever you guys decided, whatever fits the narrative as far as who’s going to win.”

It’s perhaps the biggest open secret that there is a narrative aspect behind voting and reasoning behind whoever wins MVP. If voting were simply about “being the best player in the League,” LeBron James would’ve won more than four MVPs, and Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant would’ve perhaps won more than one.

There are several criteria voters look at to determine who they select for the League’s ultimate individual regular-season award. Such as It’s about team success, health, career arc, and past results. Funny enough, Embiid not winning two years in a row may help him get over the hump next season if he puts up another MVP-like season next season.

“I’m not mad. The last two years in a row, I’ve put myself in that position. It didn’t happen. It’s almost like, at this point, it’s whatever. Whatever happens, happens. Last year I campaigned about it, this year, I answered questions when I was asked, and the next, you know, a few years before I retire, it’s almost like I don’t know what else I have to do to win it. To me, it’s just whatever. It’s all about — not that I wasn’t focusing on the bigger picture, but it’s really time to really put all my energy into the bigger picture, which is to win the whole thing.”

Finishing as one of three finalists and the runner-up for MVP means Embiid, in no uncertain terms, did enough to win MVP this year. Moving forward, the former Kansas Jayhawk will have to control what he can control and continue to play at an MVP level, so in the following years, there is no doubt he is deserving of the prestigious award.

The Philadelphia 76ers look to tie their second-round series with Miami on Thursday.