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August 18, 2017

Sixers' Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell among NBPA award winners

Having the respect of your critics is all well and good. For some, it's enough. But earning the respect of your peers – especially those typically competing against you – should mean a whole lot more.

So while the NBA awards announced earlier this summer, the ones that are voted on by the media, garner the big headlines, they're hardly the only honors handed down following the NBA season.

On Friday, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) revealed the winners of their third annual Players Voice Awards, which are voted on solely by NBA players. And after a season of major growth, it should come as no surprise that the Sixers were well represented, with center Joel Embiid taking home two of the 14 individual league-wide awards (technically there were only 12, with one going to a coach and the other going to a team).

The first win for Embiid was also the bigger of his two awards: Comeback Player of the Year.

Embiid only played 31 games this past season (20.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG in 25 MPG) – and hadn't played played an NBA game in either of his first two seasons after being drafted third overall in 2014 – so the fact that he was able to impress the rest of the league enough to win this award speaks to just how good he was when on the court

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to win him Rookie of the Year, which once again went to Malcolm Brogdon. 

The other award Embiid one should come as no surprise, and it has nothing to do with his on-court abilities. 

In case you're unaware of the seven-footer's social media prowess, here's just a sample of some of the stories we've wrote about Embiid's off-court antics:

•  Dec. 29, 2016: Embiid needs help hooking up with his celebrity crush (Rihanna?)
•  Jan. 9, 2017: Embiid shuts down trolling porn star Mia Khalifa
•  Jan. 10: Embiid secures Sam Hinkie's All-Star vote
•  Jan. 13: Thanks to social media, Embiid has turned into a star off the court, too
•  Jan. 30: Embiid channels Rex Ryan in latest attempt to woo Instagram model
•  May 16: Embiid to Rihanna: 'I’m 7-2, good looking, and women usually like my accent’
•  June 19: Embiid joins #RTArmageddon to take shot at Howard Eskin
•  June 22: Embiid, Simmons take shots at LaVar (and Lonzo) Ball
•  July 5: Embiid said 'F--- LaVar Ball' on Instagram Live

And that's just in the last eight months...

Embiid was so good, in fact, that he caused all of Sixers Twitter – even the team's official account – to raise it's collective social media game. He just might win this award every year until he retires.

The other Sixers player to take home an award was T.J. McConnell. For each team, one player was selected as the best teammate, and for the Sixers, that went to the second-year point guard out of Arizona. 

Here's a look at the rest of the award winners:

•  Best Rookie: Malcolm Brogdon
•  Best Off the Bench: Lou Williams
•  Best Defender: Kawhi Leonard
•  Hardest to Guard: Russell Westbrook
•  Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team: LeBron James
•  Best Dressed: Russell Westbrook
•  Home Court Advantage: Golden State Warriors
•  Coach You’d Most Like to Play For: Gregg Popovich
•  Clutch Performer: Isaiah Thomas
•  Most Influential Veteran: Vince Carter
•  Global Impact: LeBron James
•  Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook

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