Joel Embiid has been the King of December the last several seasons.
On Tuesday, the five-time All-Star was again named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December.
During the 2021-22 campaign, he earned the award in both December and January. While the 2020-21 season didn't begin until late December, Embiid picked up Player of the Month for games played in December and January.
It wouldn’t be shameful in the slightest if Embiid’s play drops off a bit this season. He did begin 2023 brightly, scoring 42 points in the Sixers’ victory Monday night over the Pelicans. In 13 December games, Embiid averaged 35.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 blocks.
Embiid’s efficiency was excellent. He shot 54.5 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from three-point range, and 85.8 percent at the foul line on 11.4 attempts per game.
According to a Sixers press release, Embiid’s five Player of the Month awards are now the most in team history. Allen Iverson received the honor four times.
Among Embiid’s highlights in December were a 53-point game against the Hornets and a 44-point effort in the Sixers’ comeback win over the Clippers. He ended the year by posting the fifth triple-double of his career and his first of the season in Oklahoma City.
Huge offensive games have been happening often around the NBA — 15 players averaged at least 28 points in December — but Embiid still led the league in scoring. With 35.1 points, 9.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game, Mavs star Luka Doncic won the Western Conference Player of the Month award.
After a 9-4 December and Monday’s win against New Orleans, the Sixers are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 22-14. They’re two games ahead of the Pacers, who visit Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
The Sixers haven’t lost at Wells Fargo Center since Nov. 19.
“It’s always been like that, really, since I’ve been here,” Embiid said Monday. “We’ve got to win. We’ve got to take care of business, especially at home. We’ve got a great fan base. As you know, they’re always going to show you love, and they’re also going to push you to play better when you’re not doing good.
“It makes us better. It puts a lot of pressure on us to get the results, so we need to keep going and we need to get better on the road, too.”