MVP speculation will continue to swirl around Joel Embiid until the award is announced, but fans should take time to appreciate what the Philadelphia 76ers superstar has already accomplished.
After a dominant season, Embiid has officially claimed his second consecutive NBA scoring title with a staggering 33 points per game. He is the first center to achieve such a feat since Bob McAdoo did so from 1974-76. Naturally, when one makes history not seen since the Jimmy Carter Administration, people are going to talk.
“As his regular season comes to an end … this is one of the most historic seasons we've EVER seen from a big,” Brock Landes Tweeted. “Tape speaks for itself – bodies, blocks, bag work, buckets on everybody's top … Apex Predator!”
Joel Embiid –
• 33 PPG (Scoring Title)
• 10 REB
• 4 AST
• 2 BLK
As his regular season comes to an end … this is one of the most historic seasons we've EVER seen from a big.
Tape speaks for itself – bodies, blocks, bag work, buckets on everybody's top … Apex Predator! pic.twitter.com/yHQsuKBhwu
— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) April 7, 2023
A center hadn’t won the scoring title for more than two decades since Shaquille O’Neale did it in 1999-2000. And now Joel Embiid will win his second straight scoring title. The last back-to-back scoring leader did it three times in a row: James Harden (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20). https://t.co/sEsU5GErfO
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) April 7, 2023
Joel Embiid’s 33.08 points per game this season is the 23rd best scoring performance in NBA/ABA history
Wilt Chamberlain (7 times)
Michael Jordan (3x)
James Harden (2x)
Rick Barry (2x)
Elgin Baylor (2x)
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) April 8, 2023
Embiid's complete offensive output really boggles the mind when given proper consideration. He excels from really any spot on the floor. His 33 percent 3-point shooting is respectable for a big man and is 85.7 free throw percentage is lethal based on how many times he gets to the line per game (second most in FTs made and attempted). Just as Nikola Jokic has changed the definition of a center with his playmaking prowess, the 29-year-old native of Cameroon has raised the bar for the position with a truly versatile game.
And just like Jokic, Joel Embiid will have his efforts overshadowed by how he and the Sixers perform in the playoffs. It is a cruel fate assigned to one of the NBA's brightest stars, but such expectations are also proof that Embiid is firmly entrenched among the elite.
If the Sixers mow through the Brooklyn Nets and rest of the Eastern Conference, then his 2022-23 MVP candidacy and back-to-back scoring titles will again be overshadowed, but this time for all the right reasons.