Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons has no doubt over who the MVP is this year. All he has to do is look downcourt at Joel Embiid for an up-close and personal look at who Simmons considers the best player in the NBA.
After another signature performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, Simmons told reporters Embiid is "clearly" the MVP.
The forward posted 36 points, 14 rebounds and one assist in a 106-103 home win over the Clippers as Philly continues to hold onto the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Embiid is now averaging 29.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field.
Unfortunately for his MVP odds, his top competitor for the award—Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic—had another monster night Friday too. Jokic posted 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a 128-99 victory over the Houston Rockets. That brought his averages up to 26.0 points, 10.9 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game.
Also working against Embiid this season is the fact that he's missed 18 games due to injury.
While it's not anything Embiid could control, the fact that he's missed a large chunk of time in an already truncated season will certainly count against him.
Simmons is trying to pump up his teammate's resume regardless.
With Embiid taking charge, the Sixers are closing in on a first-place finish in the East and home-court advantage throughout the postseason. That doesn't happen without the forward from Kansas. Whether or not that's enough to name him MVP remains to be seen.