To start off this season, Joel Embiid has been unstoppable. In Embiid's 22 games played so far, he is averaging 29.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 1.2 BPG. Along with Joel's amazing numbers, he is shooting the ball remarkably efficient. Embiid has an eFG% of .577%, a 3PT% of .400% on 3 attempts per game and a FT% of .851%, on career-high, 11.3 attempts per game.
With stats like those, it is easy to see why he is a candidate for this year's MVP award, but his impact goes way beyond the box scores. In games he's played, Embiid has led the Sixers to a 17-5 record. Joel also has a Player Efficiency Rating of 31.1 (1st in the NBA) and has 4.2 calculated Win Shares on the season (2nd in the NBA).
When Embiid is not on the court, the Sixers are a very different team. Without their star center, the 76ers are 1-4 on the season. Philadelphia loses by an average margin of nine points per game when Embiid does not play. But, when he is on the court, the 76ers have a net plus/minus of +7.7.
Many members of the mainstream sports media have Embiid as a top three candidate for MVP but do not have him at the number one spot.
- NBA.com MVP Ladder
- ESPN MVP Straw Poll
- Basketball Reference MVP Tracker
Are you sensing a pattern here?
Even with Embiid's incredible numbers and impact for his team he is not the front runner for the MVP. As you can tell, his main competition for the award this year is Lebron James and Nikola Jokic. Although Jokic is having a phenomenal season, (arguably better than Embiid's) his team is 15-11 on the season. LeBron James on the other hand has his LA Lakers in the 2nd spot in the Western Conference with a 21-7 record, but his numbers do not compare to the type of stats Embiid is putting up. LeBron's MVP campaign seems to be more narrative-based.
Yes, I know. The MVP Award is given out at the end of the season and not 27 games into the campaign, but Embiid's value is receiving some disrespect from the sports media world.
Joel Embiid and the 76ers will have themselves a test tonight when they travel to the Utah Jazz. The Jazz hold the best record in the NBA and are 1st in the Western Conference standings winning 18 of their last 19. But, what we all are waiting to see is the Joel Embiid vs Rudy Gobert matchup. It will be very interesting to see how Embiid matches up against a defensive monster like Gobert.
*Editor's note* - With no Embiid in the lineup due to back soreness, the 76ers lost to the Jazz 134-123, bringing the Sixers record without their star center to 1-5.
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