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Following a disappointing ending to last season, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was frustrated to not only see his team get swept in the first round of the playoffs, but he was also disappointed in the lack of personal accolades coming his way.

As a result, Embiid worked extra hard on improving his body, mindset, and his skill set for the 2020-2021 season so he could come back better than ever. With the 72-game regular season in the rearview, it's clear Embiid did a job well done.

And because of his improvements, Embiid could end the 2020-2021 season by hoisting the NBA MVP hardware as he's officially been named an MVP finalist by the NBA on Thursday night.

To no surprise, Embiid will be competing with Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry for MVP. Since the MVP conversation started up this season, Embiid has been relevant.

From the jump, he dominated the competition and sustained a high level of play throughout the first half of the season while remaining relatively healthy. Unfortunately, the superstar big man hit a bit of a roadblock following the All-Star break.

In his first game back, Embiid suffered a bruised knee, which forced him to miss ten-straight games. At that point, Embiid's MVP stock started to drop as he missed a notable amount of games while players such as Curry and Jokic remained healthy.

Embiid earning the right to be a finalist is a good sign that his MVP campaign is still alive and well. However, his lack of availability at times throughout the season could affect his chances of earning MVP honors officially.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_ & Instagram: @JGrassoNBA.