“You Got That Whole Week Between The Regular Season And Playoffs” | 2023 NBA MVP Joel Embiid Not A Fan Of Timing Of Award Presentation

As Philadelphia 76ers and superstar center Joel Embiid are prepping for a huge Game 4 Sunday against the Boston Celtics, Embiid, the newly-cemented 2023 NBA MVP, is letting it be known that he isn’t a fan of the timing of the award ceremony. Prior to Friday’s Game 3 home loss to the Celtics, which gave Boston a 2-1 series lead, the big Cameroonian was awarded the award, the first of his career after finishing as the runner-up to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic the past two seasons. 

And while Embiid’s speech and on-court ceremony was touching, he doesn’t seem to be a fan of the timing of when the award is presented.

During his postgame presser, Embiid mentioned that he’d like to see the award given during the pap of the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. The former Kansas Jayhawks star says it’s a distraction, and any other time would be better in his opinion. 

“I thought I got into the game and let the game come to me and not force anything, not play off my emotions, I thought I was fine the whole week. I don’t think it affected me, but all this attention I feel like it can be a distraction, and I just feel like this type of stuff can happen in another time. You got the whole week between the regular season and the playoffs, right before the playoffs, you can do something like that.

“But can’t take it for granted, wish we would’ve won tonight it would’ve made it even better. It’s hard for me to sit here and kind of think about winning that when you’re down 2-1 and we’re just trying to find ways you can help and win games.”

Pregame Ceremonies Rarely Fire Up A Team

Just like with “NBA Opening Night” or “NFL Kickoff,” in most instances the defending champion doesn’t play as well because of all the festivities. That’s also been the case for this award, as the team of the winner usually doesn’t win or play as well, even if the individual does. 

That was the case on Friday, as Embiid — still battling a sprained knee, that was supposed to keep him out at least four to six weeks — played 39 minutes, scoring 30 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and getting four blocks that weren’t enough in the team’s 114-102 loss. But the Sixers have an even bigger problem heading into Game 4 that they must rectify if they’re to have any chance of extending this series beyond five games. 

Sixers Need More From James Harden

With Embiid giving that type of effort on basically one leg, he needs former league MVP James Harden to join the party. After scoring 45 points, including the game-winning three in Game 1 without Embiid, Harden has scored a grand total of 28 points on 5-for-28 shooting over the past two games. 

There’s no way Philly can upset the Celtics unless both Embiid and Harden are playing well together, and thus far that hasn’t happened. All the Philly faithful can hope is that Sunday is the day it happens. 

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