The Sixers’ continued run of January winning contributed to two more monthly awards.
The NBA on Thursday named Joel Embiid as its Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January and Doc Rivers as the East’s Coach of the Month. Two Nuggets, Nikola Jokic and Denver head coach Michael Malone, won the West’s January honors.
While the Sixers’ Januayr concluded with a home loss to the Magic, they had an excellent month before that and finished 11-3 overall. The team easily scored 147 points on the Pistons in Embiid’s return from left foot soreness, wrapped up a 5-0 West Coast road trip by beating the Kings in a game Embiid and James Harden both sat, and defeated Denver behind a 47-point, 18-rebound Embiid performance.
Here’s the Sixers’ record in January since the 2016-17 season:
- 2017: 10-5
- 2018: 7-5
- 2019: 11-4
- 2020: 8-5
- 2021: 11-5
- 2022: 12-3
- 2023: 11-3
Without Embiid, the Sixers this season have managed to go 8-4. A variety of players have stepped up in games he’s missed and Rivers has often used them smartly, figuring out solutions to earn shorthanded victories. Rivers’ 13 career Coach of the Month honors are the second most since the award began in the 1982-83 season. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has 17 Coach of the Month awards.
As for Embiid, he averaged 34.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in January. He also won the East’s Player of the Month award in December, though the 28-year-old big man was not selected as an All-Star starter.