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Joel Embiid is first international player to win NBA scoring title

Joel Embiid is first international player to win NBA scoring title

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has won the 2021-22 NBA scoring title after averaging a career-high 30.6 points per game. He also finishes the year shooting 49.9% from the field, 37.1% from three and 81.4% from the free-throw line.

Embiid is sitting out tonight's game against the Detroit Pistons, but even if he had played, he had the scoring title locked up given his lead over second-place Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9 points per game). 

This is Embiid’s first scoring title, and the Cameroon native is the first international player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring. Embiid is also the first center to lead the league in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 1999-2000.

Embiid has finished the season strong; through five games in April, he has averaged 37.8 points, 14.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.6 threes while shooting 59.5% from the field and 44.4% from three-point range. 

Antetokounmpo was Embiid’s biggest competition in the scoring race, but once he sat out the Milwaukee Bucks’ regular-season finale due to right knee soreness, that gave the crown to Embiid.

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LeBron James, who averaged 30.3 points this season, was also in the running for the scoring title at 37 years old. However, he only played 56 games this season, and players must appear in at least 58 games to qualify for the scoring title. James has been out with an ankle injury, which ended his season prematurely.

Embiid is also one of the top candidates for this year’s Most Valuable Player award, as he has led the 76ers to a 50-31 record while averaging 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.4 threes and 1.1 steals on .499/.371/.814 shooting splits. Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic each have a strong argument for MVP as well, making this one of the closest races for that award in recent memory.

Prior to this season, Embiid's career-high was 28.5 points, and he had never finished higher than fourth in points-per-game (doing so twice, in 2020-21 and 2018-19).

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