Joel Embiid doesn't believe analytics can tell which players are good defensively. Instead, he suggested that the so-called eye test should be king.

Credit: AP-Scanpix
Credit AP-Scanpix

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid is one of the main contenders to win the MVP trophy for the third year in a row. The previous two times, the title was captured by Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic.

Joel Embiid

Joel  Embiid
Joel  Embiid
MIN: 34.7
PTS: 33.31 (66.02%)
REB: 10.18
As: 4.21
ST: 1.07
BL: 1.74
TO: 3.46
GM: 61

This time, the MVP race is different with Jokic not even wanting to talk about it. Embiid, on the other end, did an interview with Shams Charania from The Athletic where he talked about the pursuit of the trophy in length.

When he was asked whether he believes that the criteria to win the coveted award changes every season, the player opened up.

"The criteria does change. If we want to talk about the last three years since I've been in the running for it, the first year it was that I didn't play enough games. Last year, I came back, I played enough games, I led the league in scoring, and obviously, Nikola deserved it and he won it. But then again, he won as a sixth seed in the West," Embiid said.

Later on in his answer, he pushed back against the notion that analytics should be used as part of evaluating the MVP winner in a not-so-subtle jab at Jokic who's known to be leading multiple analytics categories, including some defensive ones.

"This year, I'm leading the league in scoring, I'm doing all of these things defensively… I should be making an All-Defensive team too. I don't care, but every year it's something. And when you add analytics into it, which don't make sense," he shared.

"You can talk about analytics all you want. When you got some guys in the league, the eye test tells you that they're not good defensively, but analytics tell you they're the best defenders. That’s when analytics don't make sense at all," Embiid explained. "I don’t make the rules, I don't choose whatever criteria that they use, so it's really about whatever people's preferences are."

Embiid ended up revealing that being liked is not on his priority list. Instead, he focuses on his goal to be remembered as one of the most dominant players in the league's history.

"When I leave the game of basketball, I want to make sure that people looked at me as … it's hard to be the greatest ever because you've got to win a bunch of championships and not everyone is lucky to do it because only one team can win and you have to have the right pieces around you … but when I leave the game, I want to make sure that they say 'No one was stopping him offensively and defensively, and he was a monster'," the player told.

"That’s why I play the game — for the respect," he said.

"People always thought that I was crazy when I said this — I really believe that I'm not well-liked. And it’s cool with me, that’s fine," Embiid added. "I'll be the bad guy. I like being the a--hole anyway. I like being the underdog. So that's fine with me."

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Joel Embiid

Joel  Embiid
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Position: C
Age: 29
Height: 213 cm
Weight: 113 kg
Birth place: Yaounde, Cameroon