After missing 10 games with a knee injury, Joel Embiid has picked up right where he left off.
Embiid was off to a monster start to the year and was the frontrunner for the league’s Most Valuable Player prior to his injury. It was assumed since Embiid missed so much time, a total of 18 games so far, that he wasn’t able to compete with the other MVP candidates like Nikola Jokic, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kawhi Leonard.
Embiid has been on a tear since his return, averaging 25 points per game and almost 14 free throws per game. We all know that Joel Embiid is at his best when he is getting to the free-throw line with authority which is what he is doing right now. Embiid is getting to the line and making them pay shooting 86% from the stripe this season.
The 76ers have finally put a team around their best player and the dividends have been paying out in bunches but that’s not the only reason Joel Embiid has taken such a significant step forward this season.
Even though Embiid has missed over 30% of the team’s games this season, he has shown flashes of the great Dirk Nowitzki.
Speaking of Dirk Nowitzki, Embiid took to the media to talk about what he thinks sets him aside this season.
Embiid says he and his trainer started watching a lot of old Dirk Nowitzki tape prepping for this year, which he credits for some of his success operating/catching at the nail this season
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) April 17, 2021
Nowitzki, a 14-time all-star and a former MVP himself is the right man to study. It’s funny that Joel Embiid has been perhaps the most dominant big man to play in the NBA since the Maverick’s former star so why not study him?
Due to his injury history, Joel Embiid’s career may not be as long or as decorated as Nowitzki, but he certainly has the talent to do it.
If Embiid can finish the season at the pace that he is currently at and doesn’t miss any more games, there is a good chance he may be named the league’s MVP.
Photo via AP Photo (Matt Slocum)