Can Joel Embiid Win MVP This Season?
94-WIP - Radio.com
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been on a tear this season. He is currently averaging 28 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. We haven’t seen numbers like that from a center since Shaquille O’Neal's days. Joel Embiid has been that dominant, especially as of late. In four of his last six games, Embiid has scored over 30 points, and in those four games, the Sixers have won them all .
Embiid is shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 30.6 from three, and 80.7 from the free throw line. His PER is 25.7 (highest of his career) and is ranked 10th in the NBA. Embiid is also ranked fourth in the NBA in win shares with 3.3. That’s a lot of stats I know, but that’s not the only reason why he has a great chance of winning MVP. Here are a few others.
Joel Embiid’s Production is Sustainable
It’s early in the season, but Embiid’s 28 point per game average may hold up. As of right now, the Sixers only have one other player that demands the ball to score and that is Jimmy Butler. Ben Simmons is always looking to pass, and Markelle Fultz’s tenure with the Sixers seems to be coming to an end. Butler and Embiid carry the load offensively, but Butler is more of a fourth quarter scorer.
Even though Embiid has the green light to keep shooting, he is only averaging 19 shots per game. In an NBA that seems to speed up the pace year by year, that is actually average. So where is Embiid getting all his points from? The free throw line.
Embiid is averaging 10.6 free throws per game, which is more than James Harden. Let that sink in for a second. He is the leader in free throws made and attempted. If he continues to get to the line, once the team is fully acclimated with Butler, his numbers can stay the same or even increase.
The Sixers are Winning
Everyone knows the prerequisite for an MVP is that his team must win games and that is exactly what the Sixers are doing. The Sixers are currently 15-8 and in the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They are one game behind the second seed and three and a half games behind first place (via NBA.com). With the recent acquisition of Jimmy Butler, the Sixers are 5-2. As the season progresses, you can expect the Sixers record to improve as the team will begin to gel. If the Sixers maintain a top three seed in the East, there is no reason why Embiid shouldn’t win MVP.
Joel Embiid is a top five MVP candidate right now and if he continues this play, he can win the award. Embiid makes it look easy (see highlights below via Sixers Twitter), and he is definitely the best big man in the game right now.