Trust the Process... Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid is finally atop the NBA.com KIA Race to the MVP ladder for the first time this season.
Embiid overtook Denver Nuggets’ star Nikola Jokic for the top spot following the big man’s recent tear of dominating performances over the past few weeks. Here’s what NBA.com had to say about Embiid’s leap:
Seven straight 30-point performances push the NBA’s top scorer to No. 1 in this week’s MVP Ladder. Embiid churned out another gem on Wednesday against Cleveland’s No. 2-rated defense with 36 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks, marking the third-straight outing the big man has racked up at least 30 points with three blocks. The 29-year-old became the first player since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to accomplish that feat, and he took advantage of every opportunity in knocking down all 10 of his free-throw attempts. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Embiid leads a Sixers squad that is 20-12 on the road with nine more games away from home left on the schedule.
It’s hard to argue with any of that. Anyone who has been watching the Sixers this season but especially the past few weeks knows the borderline-unbelievable performances that Embiid has been churning out recently — seven-straight 30-point performances, nearly single-handedly leading the Sixers to winning their last six straight.
Embiid is averaging 33.5 points per game, leading the NBA in the category. Over the Sixers six-straight wins, he is averaging 36.8 points on 60 percent field goal shooting. NBA.com pointed out also that his recent dominance is not just as a scorer, but on the defensive end as well:
Flexing two-way dominance almost nightly, Embiid is shooting 60% overall and 50% on 3-pointers during this winning streak to go with 8.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game in anchoring a team that is 8-3 since the All-Star break.
Stats only go so far in telling the story, too. A perfect example of this was the Sixers’ recent win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Our Paul Hudrick took a look at a few sequences that won’t show up on a stat sheet from that contest but show the ridiculous impact Embiid has had throughout games, especially in the recent stretch.
After that dominant performance Wednesday night over the Cavaliers, Embiid jumped to the betting favorite to take home the NBA’s MVP award. As of Friday morning, Embiid’s odds are now at -110 with Nikola Jokic at +150 and Giannis Antetokounmpo sitting in third at +350, per DraftKings.
Embiid and the Sixers are set to tip-off with the Charlotte Hornets on the road Friday night at 7 p.m. EST.
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