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Embiid looking past MVP: Winning championship only way to get respect

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Joel Embiid said he's focused on winning championships for the Philadelphia 76ers instead of MVP awards.

"I could have probably had one MVP or whatever, and it didn't happen," Embiid told Shams Charania of The Athletic. "I just said I'm not going to focus on that. I've gotten to the point where people are used to me and people are putting the type of expectations on me. The only way I'm going to get that respect is by winning a championship. Whatever gets me to the playoffs healthy, that's what I've got to do."

Embiid finished second in MVP voting in each of the last two seasons to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. However, the 76ers star has a stronger case this campaign, as he leads the league in scoring with 33.3 points per game while contributing to the Association's seventh-best defense.

"What matters - it's just about winning, winning, winning. I've been focused on that. We've been doing that," Embiid said. "Whatever happens, happens. If I win MVP, good. If I don't, it's fine with me."

The 76ers sit third in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics with eight games left to play. Philadelphia has been eliminated from the playoffs five of the last six years in the conference semifinals.

"I feel it's hard to win in this league. You got two great teams in Milwaukee and Boston in my conference. So we have to play them at some point. Those are two really good teams, and it's going to be a fight to beat them," Embiid said. "But I think we match up extremely well with each team, and for us to win, we have to be almost perfect. Everybody has to show up."

The 76ers play against the Nuggets on Monday, with tipoff slated for 9:30 p.m. ET.

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