Joel Embiid falls just short of another 76ers Record
If you decided to live under a rock to kick off the 2022 calendar year, I wouldn’t blame you. However, that means you would have completely missed what Joel Embiid has been doing over the past month. Throughout January, Embiid has carried the 76ers to an 11-3 record, while grabbing his fifth-straight starting spot in the All-Star game and taking over as the favorite to win the 2022 NBA MVP award.
Embiid has certainly put the league on notice, and had the chance to cement himself among the legends of the Sixers franchise against the Memphis Grizzles tonight to close out the month of January. That was until Embiid was ruled out for tonight’s contest with a designated rest day. Embiid has certainly earned the rest after his dominant stretch, but it is sad to see Joel not even get a chance to join elite 76ers company.
The 76ers are set to host the Grizzlies tonight from Wells Fargo Center to cap off their best month of basketball so far this season. In January, Joel Embiid has only scored under 30+ points in two games. Not only has that propelled him to second in points per game in the entire NBA, but now Embiid is on the cusp of greatness only seen previously from 76ers legends.
If Joel Embiid had scored 24 points against Memphis tonight, he would’ve become one of only three other 76ers to score 500 points in a single month. The other Sixers legends to do so? Hal Greer, Allen Iverson, and Wilt Chamberlain. Certainly an elite company of 76ers legends and a group that I might add, are all apart of the Sixers Hall of Fame.
This isn’t the first time Joel Embiid could’ve joined the likes of Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain in the Sixers record books. Earlier in the month Joel Embiid had put together a streak of eight 30+ point games, a feat only Iverson and Chamberlain had reached before.
This has truly been the greatest run of Joel Embiid’s career so far, and what a way it could’ve been to finish off the best month of Embiid with a prestigious spot next to a couple of Sixers and NBA legends. Certainly stings a bit for Sixers fans but at the end of the day it is good to see the staff prioritizing his overall health with a big stretch of games heading into the All-Star break. Despite the bad news, let’s re visit just how elite the last month of Joel basketball has been.
Embiid’s month of January includes his third career triple double, scoring 50 points in just 27 minutes of action, and an eight-game streak of averaging more points than minutes played. A streak that is still active going into tonight’s matchup against the Grizzlies, with Embiid currently averaging 37 points in just 33 minutes of play over the last eight contests.
Amidst all the turmoil and drama surrounding Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid’s play has been the saving grace for Sixers fans. It is becoming more and more clear that this season may just be about Joel Embiid hunting the individual awards he deserves. With an MVP Award on the horizon and Embiid showing no signs of slowing down, the sky may truly be the limit for the now five-time All-Star.
So as you watch a Embiid-less 76ers team likely get their butt handed to them by the Grizzlies, take a moment to cherish what we’ve seen from Embiid over the past couple of weeks. Even if he won’t reach that illustrious 500 points this month, he’s certainly done enough to cement his play amongst the Sixers and NBA record books for a long, long time.
Mandatory Credit: Kevin C. Cox.