One of the biggest stories around the NBA currently is the play of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. Since returning from health-and-safety protocols back in late November, he has been nothing short of dominant.
Last year, we saw Embiid cement himself among the top talents the league has to offer. The All-Star big man had the best season of his career and almost walked away with the MVP award. If not for missed time, many believe he was the favorite to win the hardware.
After taking the NBA by storm over the last month, Embiid is once again in the discussion for Most Valuable Player. While his case grows stronger with each passing game, there’s another seasonal award for which he’s in the mix.
Embiid currently sits at fourth in the NBA in points per game with 28.4. Only Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.6), LeBron James (28.9), and Kevin Durant (29.3) are averaging more points per game than Philly’s franchise player. Based on how he’s performed in recent weeks, it’s fair to assume Embiid can still climb the ladder of the league’s top scorers. He’s averaging 33.6 points over his last 15 games, the highest in the NBA over that stretch.
The Sixers have relied heavily on Embiid to be the focal point of the offense, and he continues to deliver. In his last 17 games, he has scored 30 points or more in 14. Embiid has raised the bar even higher this week, tying a career-high 50 points in a win over the Orlando Magic despite playing just 27 minutes.
One factor that has led to this scoring bump is Embiid finding his shooting touch. Like most players in the league, it took some time for him to adapt to the new basketball used by the NBA. Embiid’s shooting woes were apparent early on but have been a non-issue as of late.
Embiid is currently shooting 49.8% from the floor and 39.1% from beyond the arc. That level of efficiency is remarkable for a player attempting close to 20 shots per game. His percentages are even better in January, when he’s shooting 56.2% through 10 games.
Because of his ability to use the entire floor, Embiid is a nightmare for opposing defenses on a nightly basis. He can punish teams down low when they attempt to go small or hurt them on the perimeter with his elite-level mid-range game. At this stage of his career, there are few holes in Embiid’s offensive arsenal.
Due to the Sixers’ current situation, Joel Embiid has a real opportunity to chase the scoring title if he wants it. The offense is entirely run through him and he has the ball in his hands more than ever before.
Winning the scoring title is far from the top of Embiid’s priority list. But if he can maintain this current level of play, the award might fall into his lap.