Update — The Bucks ruled out Giannis for Sunday’s regular-season finale, so Embiid will take home his first scoring title. Embiid, again, is the first big man to win the scoring title in over 20 years, the last time being Shaq back in 99-00.
Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid pretty much wrapped up his first NBA scoring title on Saturday afternoon. He scored 41 points in a win over the Indiana Pacers and could finish the season averaging 30.57 points per game. If Embiid sits on Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, Giannis Antetokounmpo would need to score 78 points to overtake Embiid. If Embiid plays and scores 0 points, Giannis would still need 47 on Sunday in order to win the scoring title. LeBron James eliminated himself from contention by sitting out the rest of the season due to an ankle injury.
Embiid will become the first big man to win the scoring title since Shaquille O’Neal back in 1999-00, when the former Lakers great averaged 29.7 points per game. Only Shaq and David Robinson were among big men to win the scoring title in the past 30-plus years. Embiid joins elite company with his first NBA scoring title, though it may not be enough to win him his first MVP award.
The past seven scoring titles were won by Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The NBA has been dominated by guards for what seems like the past 3-4 decades but all three MVP finalists could end up being big men (Embiid, Giannis and Nikola Jokic, who is favorite to win). The scoring title could help Embiid make a stronger case for winning MVP this season. He’s at +250 while Jokic is -350. We could see some movement before the awards announcement after the season.