1. Joel Embiid
Last week's rank: 1
Despite missing a few games with an ankle injury, Joel Embiid will remain atop the competition in this week's power rankings.
Embiid has failed to appear in a game since before Christmas. Despite this news, Embiid will remain at the top due to his dominance at the beginning of the season. Fans may have forgotten, but Embiid's last performance ended in a near triple-double where he also logged four blocked shots.
Since Embiid's absence, the Sixers have just gone .500 for the week and a half he has been out. For a team that is competing atop the Eastern Conference, this isn't acceptable. However, this does make Embiid's MVP case stronger. It's a clear indication the Sixers need him to win games.
Fortunately for the 76ers, Embiid will return against the Chicago Bulls. Embiid has a lot to prove after missing four games. If he continues to dominate, his MVP candidacy will only get stronger.
To recap December for Embiid, he averaged over 40 points per game and only lost one total game while playing. The Sixers went 8-1 in the games Embiid played in.
Embiid will need to continue dominating if expects to remain number one next week. But after playing so well the last few weeks, it's hard to imagine Embiid anywhere but one. The Sixers' upcoming schedule will feature a primetime game against the New York Knicks. Embiid will be expected to play well if the Sixers are going to have any chance against the revamped Knicks team.
The Dallas Mavericks will have two home-and-home games against the Portland Trailblazers this coming week. For more updates on Mavericks basketball, stay plugged in.