The NBA announced today that Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played between Monday, Jan. 18 and Sunday, Jan. 24.
In his fifth NBA season, it’s Embiid’s fifth career Player of the Week selection. Embiid joins Hall of Famers Charles Barkley (six times) and Allen Iverson (20) as the only players ever to earn the award at least five times as 76ers since its inception in 1979-80.
Embiid led the 76ers to a 3-0 week, with two wins over Boston and one over Detroit, producing at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in each contest. He posted no fewer than 33 points and 10 rebounds in any game. The last Philadelphia player to tally 33-10 in three straight games was Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain from Dec. 16-20, 1967.
He made 12-or-more free throws in all three games last week and attempted at least 15 in each. For the week, Embiid led the NBA with 113 total points (37.7 per game) and 43 made free throws, while shooting .611 from the field, .444 from beyond the arc and .811 from the free-throw line. On the season, Embiid’s average of 8.9 made free throws per game leads the league, while his 27.7 points per contest rank fifth and his rebounding average of 11.5 sits seventh. He, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver’s Nikola Jokić are the only NBA players averaging at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
In last Wednesday’s 117-109 home win over Boston, Embiid posted 42 points (12-19 FG, 17-21 FT) and collected 10 rebounds in 33 minutes of action. It was his second 40-point game in eight days, and he, Washington’s Bradley Beal and Boston’s Jaylen Brown are the only NBA players with multiple 40-point efforts this season. Embiid is the only player to post 40 points and 10 rebounds in game this season, and he’s done so twice. He turned the ball over just once against the Celtics, the second time since 1979-80 a 76er has posted 40 points and 10 rebounds with one-or-fewer turnovers. The only other such performance was also by Embiid on March 17, 2019 at Milwaukee.
The 76ers hosted the Celtics again last Friday night to complete a two-game series. In a 122-110 victory, Embiid notched 38 points (11-15 FG, 2-2 3FG, 14-15 FT), collected 11 rebounds and handed out three assists. It was his fifth straight game (regular season or playoffs) against Boston with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, dating back to Aug. 19, 2020. Embiid and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players since 1976-77 with five straight 30-point, 10-rebound games against the Celtics.
Embiid closed out his week with a 33-point (10-20 FG, 12-17 FT), 14-rebound, two-block effort in a 114-110 win at Detroit, kicking off a two-game road series. It was his third consecutive 30-point, 10-rebound performance, marking the fourth time in his career he’s posted at least 30-10 in three-or-more straight games. The only other 76ers ever with as many such three-game streaks as Embiid are Barkley and Chamberlain. Further, it was the 50th 30-point, 10-rebound effort of Embiid’s career, a mark he reached within 223 career games. The only player to reach 50 such career games sooner than Embiid is Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who did so in 190 contests.
Jokić wins the award for the first time this season and has now earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors seven times in his career, tying him with Alex English for the second most in franchise history.
Jokić, 25, averaged 29.0 points, 14.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.70 steals while shooting .522 from the field and .778 from the charity stripe. He helped lead the Nuggets to a 3-0 week, including a home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and back-to-back road wins over the Phoenix Suns on consecutive nights. The 3-0 week also moved Denver’s record over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Jokić started the week by registering 27 points (12-21 FG’s), 12 rebounds, six assists and one steal in a home win over the Thunder, his first career game with 27+ points, 12+ rebounds and 6+ assists in 28 minutes or less. Denver then headed to Phoenix for a back-to-back where he put up a stat-line of 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes as the Nuggets won in overtime. Jokić followed that performance up the next night with another massive game, finishing with 29 points, a career-high 22 rebounds, six assists and one steal in 42 minutes as the Nuggets prevailed in double overtime. He became one of five players all-time to record 350 points, 125 rebounds and 125 assists in the first 15 games of a season.
Jokić leads the NBA in total assists and is second in assists per game, while averaging 25.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 9.6 assists and 1.90 steals in 35.7 minutes. He has also produced a double-double in all 16 games, becoming one of five players since 1976 to record a double-double in each of the first 16 games (Walton, Antetokounmpo, M. Malone, D. Sabonis).