Draymond Green

Draymond irked Embiid played to meet MVP requirements, injured knee

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Draymond Green believes one of the NBA's new rules might have backfired in the Warriors' 119-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at Chase Center.

Sixers center and MVP-frontrunner Joel Embiid entered Tuesday's game questionable with left knee soreness, but gave it a go after testing his knee in pregame warmups. The 7-foot big man struggled, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds on 5-of-18 shooting from the field and 2 of 6 from 3-point range before appearing to suffer an injury to the same knee after Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on his leg while fighting for a loose ball.

Embiid played after missing Philadelphia's losses to the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday and Monday, and Green believes an injured Embiid ultimately suited up to ensure he meets the NBA's 65-game threshold for the MVP award and All-NBA honors at the end of the season.

"Joel playing tonight felt very much so because of the 65-game limit," Green said on the latest episode of "The Draymond Green Show" podcast.

"Everybody's happy with this 65-game rule until you've got a bum on All-NBA team, until you've got somebody who's not totally deserving of MVP of the league because somebody else didn't qualify because of this game limit."

The NBA's new rule, which requires players to play at least 20 minutes in 65 games during the regular season to qualify for awards like MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, has been met with pushback by other stars around the league.

Indiana Pacers superstar Tyrese Haliburton, who is four missed games away from not qualifying for the MVP award or All-NBA honors, went as far as calling it a "stupid rule," to which Green certainly appears to agree.

"What I think is quite actually bulls--t, myself, is to actually incorporate something at this point a rule like 65 games need to be played in order to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, (or) All-NBA, guys didn't face those rules before," Green explained. "But those same All-NBA teams, those same MVP awards, lists, Defensive Player of the Year, those lists are the same.

"When the guys who win those awards this year pop up on the list that they were added to or once again, it won't say 'and by the way, they reached a 65-game limit to make that.' It's bulls--t, that hasn't been a rule. So essentially to make guys live up to a certain standard that wasn't the standard before to make these teams but you only go on the same team? There's no added bonus, no added incentive for these things. So you end up on the same list as the guys who back in the day played and may not have played 65 games but still made the list."

Sixers coach Nick Nurse told reporters after the game that the injury Embiid suffered against the Warriors was unrelated to the knee injury he was dealing with coming into the game and that the Philadelphia big man will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Green believes Embiid playing through injury and suffering another potential setback because of it is evidence of a flaw with the league's new rule.

"You get Joel, who comes out there tonight because he's [five] games away from not qualifying to win MVP and he forces it," Green added. "And freak play with him and JK diving for the ball, but maybe it's not as bad if the knee isn't already banged up, right?

"Of course you want to win MVP. You force it, you get out there and you put yourself in harm's way and then Joel Embiid is hurt now. Is that the goal? Is the goal putting people in harm's way just so they can qualify for an award? Because I don't think that was the goal. This man's actually dealing with an injury."

Philadelphia has not provided an official update on Embiid as of this writing, but there's a chance the big man's latest injury could prevent him from taking home his second consecutive MVP award this season.

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