Joel Embiid reveals that he wants to emulate Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, winning MVP and DPOY at the same time.
Jojo has been the league’s most dominant player not named Stephen Curry this year. Nikola Jokic has a strong MVP case because he’s played at an all-time great level through every single game. But Jojo has imposed his will more consistently on opponents – on both ends.
Embiid wishes to be able to win DPOY some day. In fact, he was campaigning for himself winning this award ahead of the All-Star Break:
“When I came in the league, I never thought I would be that good offensively. I always focused on the defense and that’s always been my goal to win it. … That’s been my focus and coming into the league and obviously, the scoring and the offensive side has taken over.”
Embiid on the MVP Award: “I’ve been dominant all season. When I get the ball, it’s either a foul or a bucket. I feel like I’m right there.”
Embiid on the DPOY Award: “I want to be Defensive Player of the Year. I should be Defensive Player of the Year.”
(Via Lowe Post) pic.twitter.com/OUnQVUfoi7
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 16, 2021
Joel Embiid wants to emulate Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, win both MVP and DPOY
Embiid is now clearly a First Team All-NBA candidate when fit. But he wishes to win the bigger accolades out there. He has his sights set on the MVP-DPOY double, since it’s something his idols have done:
“I’ve always wanted to be like Hakeem and MJ, or Giannis last year to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. But I have a lot of years in the league, and at some point, that is something I wanna do. But when it comes to it, I hope he (Ben) wins it.”
Given Embiid’s ability to patrol the paint, alter shots and affect his opponents’ offense, it’s not a far-fetched notion. Embiid’s biggest challenge will likely be availability and fitness – a common theme throughout his career.