Joel Embiid has become one of the NBA's most complete superstars

Less than two months after his 27th birthday, Joel Embiid looks like one of the most important players in professional basketball. He's more confident than ever for one reason: He has become one of the most complete superstars in the game.

As Embiid enters his prime, he's the centerpiece on both ends of the floor for the Philadelphia 76ers, who have become a legitimate threat to win it all.

No center has won the MVP award since Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-2000 for the Los Angeles Lakers. That drought should end this year, with both Embiid and Nikola Jokic making strong cases and reminding us that big men still matter. Not only does Embiid rank third in the league in scoring this season, but he also anchors one of the best defenses in the league, a key claim that Jokic cannot make.

Entering Thursday, the Sixers have the best record in the East, and Embiid is the biggest reason for that. Consider this: