Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid, Simmons named finalists for MVP awards

(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

After an incredibly entertaining Philadelphia 76ers season, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have officially been named finalists for a pair of postseason awards.

To the victor goes the spoils, and while the Philadelphia 76ers unfortunately didn’t close out the 2018 NBA season as NBA champions, they are receiving some much-deserved praise for their efforts nationally.

That’s right, after months of whispers, think pieces and lowkey campaigning, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been named finalists for a pair of most valuable player awards and could bring home some postseason hardware for the first time in almost half a decade.

After only appearing in only 31 games as a super rookie in 2016-2017, Embiid silenced all of the doubters in his second season as a pro and quickly established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league at both ends of the court.

While his offense has never been in question, especially after averaging 20 points a night as a rookie, Embiid’s defensive dominance really took his game to the next level in 2017-2018 and is a big reason his team got so much better so quickly.

And now, with Philly’s season over, Embiid is being recognized for his efforts.

Related Story: 3 reactions to landing No. 10 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

As a finalist for the 2018 NBA Defensive MVP, Embiid, who averaged 11 rebounds and a 3.6 Real Plus-Minus rating will be facing off against fellow defensive anchors Rudy Gobert (5.15) and Anthony Davis (3.8) for the title best defender in the league.

Even though Embiid probably won’t win the award, as Gobert’s defensive ranking is far and away the best mark in the entire league, it’s nice to see the big man get some much-needed appreciation for his hard work.

And as for Simmons, is there any question as to which award he’s a finalist for?

All season we’ve heard about the NBA Rookie of the Year being a two-man race between Simmons and Utah Jazz sparkplug Donovan Mitchell, and while Boston Celtics forward  Jayson Tatum has also been named a finalist for the award, a two-man race it effectively remains.

Related Story: 3 ways to use No. 10 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

While Mitchell did average more points in the regular season, Simmons averaged more rebounds, assists, steals and played more effective defense than his opponent over the first 91 games of his NBA career and looks like a potential superstar.

Though it will surely be a close race, this is an award that Simons can, and honestly should win, and if he does pull it out, it will make him the first Philadelphia 76ers to bring home the award since Michael Carter-Williams accomplished the feat back in 2014.

Next: Top-3 fits at the 10th overall pick for the Philadelphia 76ers

Who do you think should win the NBA Defensive MVP and Rookie of the Year awards? Let us know in the comments section below.