The Cameroonian player was voted as the most valuable player of the NBA for the first time, beating Nikola Jokić and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Joel Embiid, who was second in the last two years, is recovering from an injury on his knee and is expected to lose the second game of the series against the Celtics.
‘The Process,’ as he is nicknamed, has completed his own personal process, crowning himself as the NBA’s best player of the season. However, he still has to lead one more process: that of turning the Philadelphia 76ers into NBA champions for the first time in 40 years.
The team’s faith on him
It was 2014, and the Philadelphia 76ers had become a laughingstock. After the departure of Allen Iverson, one of the franchise’s most beloved players, the team was in the midst of a rebuilding process that had yet to bear fruit. Eight years without a franchise player and only a Best Rookie Award for Michael Carter-Williams to show for it. They had hoped to develop a competitive and successful club through the draft, and that’s when Joel Embiid slipped into their hands.
Joel Embiid had no intention of committing to basketball at first. Embiid was a fantastic volleyball player in Cameroon and loved football (soccer), and his goals were to move to Europe and try his luck there. He didn’t start playing basketball until he was 15 years old, and it was just in time. His compatriot and established NBA player, Luc Mbah a Moute, discovered him at a camp and sponsored him, bringing him to the United States. Just before starting college, he was rated as a five-star talent by experts.
‘Trust the Process’
However, the Cameroonian’s arrival did not have an immediate impact. Embiid was hurt only days before the draft and missed what would have been his first two seasons. He couldn’t make his NBA debut until October 2016, but fans in the City of Brotherly Love weren’t giving up hope, instead urging them to ‘Trust the Process.’ The procedure began to bear fruit the next year.
For the first time in a long time, the 76ers emerged as a major threat in the East during the 2017/2018 season. The squad finished third in the Eastern Conference, only behind the dreaded Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, who eliminated them in the conference playoffs, and was led by Embiid. Embiid has already averaged a double-double per game this season, with 22.9 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Over time, Embiid’s offensive potential grew to the point where he led the league in points per game in the last two regular seasons: 30.6 points per game in 2021/2022 and 33.1 points this year. With these figures, he has become the first player taller than 7 feet (2.13 meters) to lead the NBA in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000, and the first center to average more than 30 points per game since Moses Malone in 1982. Embiid is also the first foreigner to have topped the NBA in points per game for at least one season.