The game of basketball has evolved over its 131-year history. From being a size dominant game to now where even players below six feet can shine. In a league where it’s a guards game today, there are some big men making noise. They are making noise at a historical level. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are putting up PER (Player Efficiency Ratings) that we have seldom seen in the history of the game.
For those of you that do not know what PER is, ‘ PER strives to measure a player’s per-minute performance while adjusting for pace. A league-average PER is always 15.00, which permits comparisons of player performance across seasons. PER takes into account accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative results, such as missed shots, turnovers, and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system’ – Wikipedia.
The record for single-season PER was held for the longest time by Philadelphia legend Wilt Chamberlain. That was until the Greek Freak came along. Giannis broke Wilt’s record of 31.82 in the 2019-2020 season with a 31.86 PER. The Greek Freak went on to win the MVP that year as well.
This year Giannis is on track to beat his record. He has a PER of 32.3 this season. Joel Embiid has a PER of 31.8 and could also catch up to Giannis’ PER through the rest of the season. But whether it’s Giannis or Embiid, neither one of them might be able to catch up to the Joker. Nikola Jokic has the highest PER this season with 32.57 and might be the one who ends up breaking the record this season.
All 3 big men are in the MVP conversation this year. Jokic is averaging only 26 points but is second in rebounds with 13.8 per game and 7.9 assists. It is also important to note that Jokic has no help whatsoever with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr out. The big man has led the Nuggets to the 6 seed all on his own and the Nuggets are a really dangerous team if they get their pieces back.
Embiid and Giannis are the frontrunners for MVP with Embiid being slightly ahead. The 2 are the leaders in scoring with Embiid averaging 29.4 and Giannis averaging 29.3 points per game. The only reason Joel edges Giannis out at this moment is that he has led Philadelphia to the 3rd seed with no help and also got the better of Giannis in their recent matchup. The point is, the era of the Big men is back and these 3 are putting the league on notice with their amazing performances.