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Rick Carlisle: ‘[Embiid is] a walking NBA cheat code right now’

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle gave Joel Embiid a strong endorsement for league MVP.

Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Joel Embiid is on quite the run. Now the MVP favorite, Embiid has scored at least 30 points in nine straight game. That’s a Sixers franchise record — a franchise that includes some guys named Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson.

His latest standout performance was in the Sixers’ 141-121 win over the Pacers Saturday night. Embiid scored 31 points (10 of 15) to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists ... in less than 30 minutes.

The ease with which he’s dominating is what’s most impressive. Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle agrees, per Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.

What makes the compliment coming from Carlisle especially cool is who the veteran coach had on his Dallas team for so long: Dirk Nowitzki. As we know, Embiid studied a ton of Nowitzki tape as he stretched his game out to the nail when Doc Rivers arrived.

In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Embiid’s trainer Drew Hanlen spoke about his client’s obsession with watching Nowitzki tape (among others):

“He has literally watched every single made field goal of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan,” Hanlen said. “ ... He’ll be like, ‘Do you have any more Dirk [Nowitzki] film?’ And I’ll be like, ‘I’ve sent every single made field goal so unless he comes out of retirement and plays more, there’s no more.’”

When you watch Embiid, you can see a mix of all the players listed there. He has an uncanny ability to see something on film and implement it into his own game.

And that’s what’s been so impressive with Embiid. He’s had two MVP-caliber seasons and has still managed to add more to his game. At 29 years old, he’s playing his best basketball and apparently still ascending.

The Sixers have won eight in a row, the longest streak in the NBA. At 22-12, they have the best road record in the NBA. At 36-10, they have the best record in the NBA period since Dec. 5. They’re percentage points ahead of the Celtics for the two seed and sit two back in the loss column of the top-seeded Bucks.

With 12 games remaining on the schedule, Embiid has an excellent chance to take home the franchise’s first MVP award since Iverson in 2001.

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