Joel Embiid reveals ‘goal’ James Harden set to make him MVP

After officially being named the MVP of the 2022-23 season, Joel Embiid reflected on his career with the Philadelphia 76ers. The superstar center alluded to the years of hardship that made the award victory much sweeter and talked about the team as it stands now. He had plenty to say about how much his Sixers teammates, namely James Harden, mean to him.

Embiid has put in a tremendous amount of work but it’s not entirely a coincidence that this season, his first full campaign with Harden, has been his best. The NBA’s assists leader paired beautifully with Embiid, making the Sixers one of the best offensive teams in the league and giving Embiid even more room to operate. The current MVP is happy to explain the former MVP’s impact on him.

“James, I don’t even know where to start,” Embiid said when asked about his co-star. “Since he’s been here — he won’t tell me that — but I think he kind of made his goal for me to be MVP. He has given up a lot. Obviously, I’ve always said it, he’s the best playmaker I’ve ever played with and he’s the best playmaker probably in the NBA. He’s been helping me as far as getting me easy opportunities, whether it’s to score or just be a better basketball player.”

P.J. Tucker said that he wanted to help him win the MVP and Harden’s actions certainly suggest it. The alterations he made to his game to succeed with Embiid highlight the mountain of evidence that the two are close. In the tear-jerking video of Embiid and his teammates reacting live to his MVP victory, Harden got up and gave him a big hug. After Embiid’s press conference discussing his ward, Harden was waiting to gift him a watch. Throughout the year at team shootarounds, Embiid and Harden can often be seen shooting on the same hoop together.

Joel Embiid’s partnership with James Harden was a huge key to his and the Sixers’ success this season. It wasn’t always as easy as they make it seem to be on the court — not even close. The Sixers organization has been synonymous with weird, dramatic incidents and team-building mishaps over the years. Embiid is not one to forget all that happened and how far along he and the team have come since then.

“We went through a lot. Whether it was the burner accounts, my guy Sam Hinkie getting kicked out — there’s a lot that has happened that we had to go through,” Embiid said.

Hinkie, who drafted Embiid and helped put the assets in place to build the Sixers into a winner, shared an emotional reaction to his prospect-turned-superstar winning the MVP. Embiid gave a long shoutout to the fans for staying loyal and dedicated over the stretch where the team was a loser. Even after they escaped the tanking seasons, it took some time to get to the level the team is at now, where a championship is well within sight.

Of this year’s team, Embiid said that they care about each other’s success and that the addition of veterans has been helpful. The Sixers stole Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Boston Celtics with Embiid out, a display of grit that previous Sixers teams did not show. Embiid is trying to be back for Game 2 but didn’t commit one way or the other, saying simply that it’s “a possibility” that he returns.

Whether or not James Harden definitely and purposefully set out to help Embiid win the MVP is not known. Regardless, the mission was a success. A confirmed goal of the Sixers — the title — remains in the works. Even with the Game 1 win against the Celtics, the path to the championship is a long and difficult one. In the eyes of Embiid, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

“Improbable doesn’t mean impossible,” Joel Embiid said. The quote was about him winning the MVP but can easily be applied to the mindset that this Sixers team has. Those levels of resilience suggest that the Michael Jordan Trophy may not be the only piece of hardware Embiid takes from this season.

The post Joel Embiid reveals ‘goal’ James Harden set to make him MVP appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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