2. Joel Embiid
Stat to know: Embiid is leading the NBA in scoring for the third straight year and is matching Wilt Chamberlain’s points per 36-minute record this season.
The reigning MVP is leading the race, but he is unlikely to play enough games to qualify for the award. Players must play at least 65 regular season to win this season, and Embiid has already missed 12 contests. He can only sit five more down the stretch and just suffered a knee injury on Jan. 30.
Embiid is averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks this season. He has been unstoppable under new head coach Nick Nurse, and his numbers have improved across the board from his MVP campaign in 2023.
Embiid has everything an MVP candidate needs. The 76ers are 12 games over .500 and just one game out of third in the Eastern Conference. Embiid dropped 70 points on the Spurs on Jan. 22, and he sits in the top four in VORP and win shares. No matter how a voter defines the race, Joel Embiid is a name that stands out.
There is almost no way the seven-footer can play 31 of his final 36 regular season games. He is dealing with an injury right now, and the 76ers would prefer to have him healthy in the playoffs. Embiid won MVP in 2023, but do not expect him to repeat. His production is worthy, but the Sixers superstar will not play enough.