It’s been quite a season for the Sixers’ leading stars. James Harden should garner All-NBA consideration for how brilliantly he’s orchestrated the Sixers’ third-ranked offense, and Joel Embiid seems to be in with a great chance to secure his first MVP award.
In fact, they’ve been so good together that they’ve done something no teammates have done in 41 years. With Harden’s league-best average of 10.7 assists per game and Embiid securing his second consecutive scoring title with an average of 33.1 points per game, they’ve become the first teammates to lead the NBA in scoring and assists since 1981-82.
Four decades ago, this feat was achieved by George Gervin (32.3 points per game) and Johnny Moore (9.6 assists per game) of the Spurs. Other duos have come close since — for instance, John Stockton led the NBA in assists for nine straight years, but his running mate Karl Malone only managed four runner-up finishes for the scoring title, always falling short to Michael Jordan — but it’s never actually been achieved in the last 41 years.
It’s a testament to Harden and Embiid’s production and synergy that they’ve pulled it off.
Even though he’s dealt with injuries in his age 33 season, Harden’s first full regular season as a Sixer has ended with him recording highly impressive averages of 21 points, 10.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals with a 38.5 three-point percentage and 60.7 true shooting percentage.
Meanwhile, Embiid has made averaging 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks with a ridiculous career-high 65.5 true shooting percentage look easy. The big fella has even more history to his name as well now, becoming the first center to claim back-to-back scoring titles since Bob McAdoo recorded three straight from 1974-76.
Historically dominant (and MVP worthy) is the only way to describe Embiid at this point.
What a year it’s been for Harden, Embiid and the Sixers so far. And now we have the playoffs to look forward to, starting with a first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.