Joel Embiid becomes first center in 22 years to win NBA scoring title

joel embiid 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, talks with Indiana Pacers' Isaiah Jackson, left, following an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 133-120. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The NBA regular season 2021/22 has come to an end and, once again, history has been made in the most important basketball league in the United States. Joel Embiid, center for the Philadelphia 76ers, has been proclaimed the top scorer in the regular season with an average of 30.6 points per game, becoming the first player at his position to achieve that distinction in the last 22 years.

The last center to be the leading scorer in a regular season was the legendary Shaquille O’Neal in the 1999/00 season with an average of 29.7 points. Additionally, Joel Embiid becomes the first center to record at least 30 points per game in a single season since Moses Malone accomplished the same feat in the 1981/82 season with the Houston Rockets.

However, the race for the title was not decided until the very end, as Giannis Antetokoumpo trailed after Joel Embiid until the last weeks of the regular season but lost any slim chance of surpassing him after missing the Bucks’ final regular season game. Similarly, LeBron James was tied for first place in scoring with Antetokoumpo and Embiid, but he didn’t participate in enough games to qualify.

joel embiid 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, talks with Indiana Pacers’ Isaiah Jackson, left, following an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 133-120. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

With this, Joel Embiid joins Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson — two of the most important players in NBA history and Hall of Famers — as the only players to win the title of leading scorer with the Philadelphia 76ers in all of the franchise history. This boosts the Cameroonian’s chances of winning the MVP award this season, which he is competing for with Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokoumpo. Among the three of them, the Serb appears to be leading the race.

Joel Embiid’s numbers this season

Joel Embiid has put up impressive numbers this season. In a 123-110 win over the Orlando Magic, the Cameroonian scored 50 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out two assists. That was one of 40 games of 30 or more points that the Cameroonian has recorded over the course of this season, which helped the Philadelphia 76ers finish fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record.

Embiid also recorded 46 double-doubles this season, fourth most in the league behind Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, and Jonas Valanciunas. In addition to scoring, the center was also a rebounding machine, averaging 11.7 rebounds per game, the fifth-best mark in the league.

Now, alongside other key players like Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and James Harden, his mission will be to prove his worth in the playoffs and lead the 76ers to an NBA championship for the first time since 1983. His first test, though, will be difficult, as he will face the Toronto Raptors, a team that eliminated them in the 2019 playoffs conference semifinals.

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