Joel Embiid

Betting public likes Sixers' Joel Embiid's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds

Betting public likes Sixers' Joel Embiid's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds

The betting public is apparently in on Joel Embiid as an MVP candidate.

While Embiid has just the eighth-best odds to take home the award, the betting public is throwing the fifth-most money (7.1 percent) down on Embiid taking home the trophy.

They like his odds.

Embiid is currently listed at +1500 meaning if you bet $100, you’d make $1,500 if he wins MVP.

The most popular bet by the public is Giannis Antetokounmpo at +500, then Kawhi Leonard at +950. LeBron James (+333) is the next most popular pick, followed by Anthony Davis (+450), then Embiid.

With James heading out West, Antetokounmpo, Leonard and Embiid will have an interesting opportunity to capitalize on a weaker Eastern Conference, perhaps bolstering their team’s win totals and increasing their chances.

We outlined the case for Embiid winning the award over the weekend (see story). He’d have to raise his scoring average and cut down on the turnovers, but he certainly has a chance.

Embiid will begin his quest on national television Tuesday night against the Celtics.

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Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Joel Embiid details increased defensive responsibility

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Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Joel Embiid details increased defensive responsibility

CAMDEN, N.J. — This season, it sounds as if the Sixers will allow Aron Baynes to launch as many corner threes as he’d like.

In the Sixers’ playoff series against the Celtics last season, Baynes, a 6-foot-10 center who had made 5 of 24 three-pointers in the regular season and first round of the playoffs, knocked down 7 of 16 long-range attempts. As a result, the Sixers had Joel Embiid follow Baynes when he stepped out to the perimeter, instead of staying home in the middle of the defense. 

“Last year, I thought we kind of made a mistake as far as playing against Boston,” Embiid said Friday. “I wasn’t allowed to help off of Baynes, especially when he was in the corner. We had a lot of times when Boston was driving to the paint and I wasn’t in there or I was stuck in the corner because I wasn’t allowed to help."

Now, Embiid is the “commander and chief” of the Sixers’ new defensive scheme, as head coach Brett Brown puts it. That puts a lot of responsibility on him, but it also means he has to be in sync with his teammates. It’s a process everybody is still figuring out.

“With this new concept, it’s going to allow me to do basically whatever I want,” Embiid said. “If I want to go help, if I want to cut off people, it gives me that ability.

“But at the same time, it can also be horrible, because you gotta communicate. My teammates gotta cover for me, I gotta cover for them. So it’s going to take a little bit of time. Last year, we got really good defensively, so this change is big and we’re going to see how that goes.”

No surprises

A reporter asked Landry Shamet on Friday if he thought he’d surprised people with his impressive preseason. Shamet stepped into the rotation after Wilson Chandler strained his left hamstring in the preseason opener, averaging 11 points on 45 percent shooting in the Sixers’ final three preseason games. 

“If I have, I have,” Shamet said. “If not, then so be it. To me personally, the only thing I was worried about was just trying to get better. I didn’t surprise myself, that’s the way I look at it. I know what I’m capable of, and I have more in me. That wasn’t the best version of Landry Shamet even.”

The roster is set

The Sixers on Friday waived Emeka Okafor, Cory Jefferson and Darin Johnson, trimming down to their final roster of 15 plus two-way players Shake Milton and Demetrius Jackson. 

The full roster is here.

“I’m 230.”

-Joel Embiid on his weight. Embiid is listed at 260 pounds. He’s said he’s in the best physical condition of his career after his first healthy offseason. 

“The way teams were guarding me, everybody knows I’m a three-point shooter. The factor was what to do after that, so that’s where my focus was this summer. I got a lot better. My coaches have seen it, my teammates have seen it, even at points in the preseason. Putting the ball on the floor, I’m more comfortable; ball-handling has been a big key. That’s what I’ve done a lot and it shows out there, lot of hard work.”

-Robert Covington on his offseason improvement

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Joel Embiid wants to win MVP — and it's not crazy to think he can

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Joel Embiid wants to win MVP — and it's not crazy to think he can

Joel Embiid hasn’t been shy about his goals this season.

Then again, Joel Embiid isn’t really shy about anything — whether it’s trash-talking opponents or giving an unsuspecting fan a smooch on the noggin. 

The Sixers' All-Star center wants to be the MVP. He wants his name mentioned in the same breath as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. 

And here’s the crazy thing: Embiid isn’t crazy to think he has a shot.

Last season, Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game. Those are not MVP-type numbers, plain and simple. But you have to consider Embiid is just scratching the surface. He’s just 24 years old and is still relatively new to the sport.

Only eight players have averaged at least 22 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in a season at age 23 or younger (blocks did not become an official stat until 1973-74). Six have won MVP. The other two are Embiid and Anthony Davis, who will be among Embiid’s stiffest competitors for the award.

In order for Embiid to get into the conversation as the league’s best player, his scoring average has to go up. Out of the last 11 MVPs, only one has scored below 25 points a night (Curry during his first MVP season in 2014-15). 

With that said, this preseason showed that Embiid should be trending up in this category. He averaged 23 points in just 24.5 minutes a contest. He stuck by his goal to be a beast down low, shooting 54 percent from the field and getting to the line 28 times in 98 minutes. 

There is a little cause for concern with Embiid’s jumper. He hit just 2 of 18 threes and 71 percent of his free throws — he’s been a 77 percent shooter from the line his first two seasons. But if he can get that aspect of his game going, he’ll truly be a nightmare matchup.

The biggest bugaboo for Embiid continues to be turnovers. He averaged four turnovers a game during the preseason and has averaged 3.7 for his career. As a player that receives a significant amount of attention and double teams, this is bound to happen. Embiid though needs to be better at recognizing the doubles coming and “quarterbacking the gym” as Brett Brown likes to say. In most of the Sixers’ lineups, he’ll be surrounded by shooters and should be able to tally some easy assists.

Defensively, Embiid just needs to continue to progress as he has. He finished second to Utah’s Rudy Gobert in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Before Embiid boldly made his goal the Most Valuable Player, he frequently talked about wanting to be the DPOY. He’s an elite rim protector and does an excellent job allowing Brown to have his defense switch on everything. 

Lastly, his conditioning has been referenced repeatedly over the last year or so. Finally being healthy heading into an offseason allowed Embiid to work on his body more than he ever has. He appears to be slimmer and more toned than he’s been over the past couple of seasons. That’ll only help in his quest.

It certainly won’t be easy for Embiid. It’s possible the award goes to LeBron in his first season leading a young Lakers team out West. Maybe Durant or Curry carries the Warriors to another historical season. Maybe Davis takes another leap in Year 7.

Or maybe Embiid backs up the talk with some hardware.

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