MVP Race: James Harden rises as the Rockets start turning the corner

MVP Race: James Harden rises as the Rockets start turning the corner

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MVP Race: James Harden rises as the Rockets start turning the corner

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Each week, HoopsHype ranks the Top 10 candidates for this season’s Most Valuable Player award. This list gives you an idea of which stars are performing at an elite level and putting themselves in the mix for the award.

This week, No. 1 through No. 4 are players who are carrying their own team (which is something voters typically prefer). Here are our latest rankings:

10. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

STATS: 26.6 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 bpg, 48.3 FG%

Earlier this month, Embiid made headlines when he said he’s frustrated “mainly because of the way I’ve been used.” He was unhappy that “[Coach Brett Brown] always has me starting on the perimeter.” This reportedly led to a four-hour meeting between Embiid and Brown.

Embiid attempted to quell any concerns by saying his comments were taken out of context and stressing that he loves his teammates and coaches. But following the 76ers’ Christmas loss to the Celtics, Embiid once again shared his frustration – this time about not getting enough touches.

“I felt like I could have done more,” Embiid said, per The Inquirer. “I didn’t get the ball. The ball didn’t find me in the fourth quarter and overtime, so, in those situations, I’ve got to show up, but I also have to be put in the right situations to be able to help this team. I felt like I wasn’t in the right situation…”

As we’ve stressed, it’ll take time for everyone in Philly to adjust after the Jimmy Butler trade. That’s what happens when a new focal point is acquired (and when two starters like Robert Covington and Dario Saric leave). Embiid dropped to No. 10 this week since he’s struggling a bit recently and Philly has lost four of their last seven games. With that said, the 76ers still have plenty of time to figure things out.

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