Making the Case | Joel Embiid

by Lauren Rosen

The Case

Joel Embiid’s All-Star case is easy to make.

Monday, he earned the Eastern Conference’s first Player of the Month award for the 2020-21 season, the second Player of the Month nod in his career.

Averaging 28.3 points per game - the fourth-highest scoring average in the league - and 11.1 rebounds per game, Embiid is the only player to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.

Embiid is among just three players in the NBA have averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds thus far, joined by Western Conference Player of the Month Nikola Jokic and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

He’s leading the league in both free throws taken (11.3) per game and free throws made (9.5) per game.

The big man also boasts stats.nba.com’s highest player impact estimate in the league (20.7).

In his 16 games thus far this season, Embiid has recorded two 40-plus point performances (both double-doubles), and 12 double-doubles total (7th-most in NBA).

The Performances

Jan. 12 vs. Miami

In the 76ers’ first of two games at home against Miami, Embiid exploded for a season-high 45 points on 16-for-23 shooting, plus 16 rebounds, four assists, and five steals in the Sixers’ overtime win.

Jan. 20 vs. Boston

Embiid’s second 40-point, 10-rebound double-double came against Boston, finishing with 42 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the Sixers’ win. Embiid got to the line a season-high 21 times in the contest (17 makes).

Jan. 22 vs. Boston

Two days later, Embiid tallied 38 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists en route to another win over Boston. He converted on 11 of his 15 field goals (73.3% FG, season-high), and 14 of his 15 free throw attempts in the contest.

The Words

Following the team’s lopsided win over the Timberwolves on Jan 29. (in which Embiid scored 37 points and 11 rebounds), Doc Rivers discussed Embiid’s offensive dominance:

“He’s so hard to guard. You’re going to foul him, or he’s going to score.”

After the Sixers’ win over the reigning champion Lakers, Tobias Harris had high praise for Embiid:

“This season, we’ve been playing great basketball as a team. We have the MVP on our team. Joel - he’s been playing lights out since day one.” 

Here’s ESPN’s Doris Burke:

“There’s no reason he couldn’t be an MVP, or best player on the league. On every touch, you felt like he was going to score, or his pass was going to lead to a score. It’s fun to watch him when he’s on the floor, and healthy, and engaged. He’s one of the most entertaining players - physically punishing, yet unbelievably light feet, feathery touch - what a pleasure to watch. What a pleasure to watch him like that.”

Vote for All-Star here.

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