Good morning, 76ers fans. All is good with the team these days. The Sixers (23-12) have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Fans will be returning to the Wells Fargo Center beginning March 14, and the Sixers have a showdown with Western Conference leader Utah (27-8) on Wednesday night before heading to the All-Star break.

The Sixers had Tuesday off from practice after one of their most impressive wins of the season, Monday’s 130-114 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers. It was another big game for Joel Embiid, with 24 points and 13 rebounds in less than 27 minutes. Embiid has been making his MVP case this season, but one of his biggest challengers could be a fellow center.

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— Marc Narducci (offthedribble@inquirer.com)

Two centers of attention

With the three-point shot dominating offenses, there have been questions about whether the center position is becoming extinct in the NBA. Embiid and Denver’s Nikola Jokic are showing that teams can win big with an offense in which the center is the best player.

They are two of the leading MVP candidates who can compete in the post and on the perimeter. There are several statistics to compare. Stats are courtesy of Basketball-reference.com and NBA.com.

Traditional stats

Embiid 29 G. 32.8 MPG; 29.8 ppg.; 11.3 rpg.; 3.3 apg. 3.2 topg.; 52.1 FG%; 41.7 3-PT%; 86.0 FT%; 1.3 bpg. 1.2 spg.

Jokic 35 G; 35.9 MPG. 27.3 ppg. 11.0 rpg.; 8.6 apg.; 3.1 topg.; 56.9 FG%; 41.7 3-PT%; 88.5 FT%; 0.7 bpg. 1.7 spg.

Some of their statistics per 100 possessions

Embiid: 43.3 pts.; 16.5 reb.; 4.8 ast.; 4.7 tover.; 2.0 blk; 1.8 steals;

Jokic: 37.6 pts.; 15.1 reb; 11.8 ast.; 4.2 t-over; 0.9 blk, 2.3 steals

A few advanced stats

Wins shares (estimate of the number of wins contributed by the player): Jokic leads the league at 8.3; Embiid is third at 5.6.

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) (this attempts to boil down all of a player’s contributions in one number; it is a measure of per-minute production standardized such that the league average is 15): Jokic is No. 1 in the NBA at 32.1, and Embiid is second at 31.1.

» READ MORE: Joel Embiid on the Sixers’ transition defense: ‘We’ve been terrible all season’

Post-up statistics

Most post-up points per game: Embiid leads the NBA with 9.9, and Jokic is second at 6.1. Embiid leads the leads the league in post-up frequency (34.8%), while Jokic is seventh (25.0%).

On-off statistics

This shows how a team and an opponent does with a player in the game as opposed to when he leaves.

The Sixers’ offensive rating with Embiid is 119.6, which means they produce 119.6 points per 100 possessions. Without Embiid, the offensive rating is 105.4, for a difference of plus-14.2. Opponents have a 108.1 offensive rating with Embiid on the court and 111.9 when he is off the court, a difference of -3.8.

The Nuggets’ offensive rating with Jokic is 121.3. Without him, it is 107, for a difference of plus-14.3. Opponents have an offensive rating of 114.3 with Jokic and 108.7 when he is off the court, for a plus-5.6 difference.

The Sixers are 22-7 with Embiid in the lineup. The Nuggets are 20-15 with Jokic in the lineup.

It must be noted that Embiid has missed six games and Jokic has played all of the Nuggets’ games. Could that be a factor in the voting?

Conclusion: As the statistics show, this is really close. It could come down to team success. Embiid is the slightly better scorer; Jokic is the better passer. Embiid is the better defender, but it’s safe to say at this point that neither has separated himself from the other but both are arguably the two leading MVP candidates.

Starting five

Three’s company

When watching the Jazz face the Sixers tonight, expect plenty of three-point attempts by Utah. The Jazz lead the NBA in three-point attempts per game, 42.8. By comparison, the Sixers average 29.2 attempts, 28th in the NBA.

Utah also leads with 16.9 made threes per game; the Sixers are 28th (10.7). The Jazz are third in three-point percentage (39.6%), while the Sixers are 14th (36.6%).

» READ MORE: A laughable first-half schedule makes it difficult to judge who the Sixers are. March will be a defining month. | David Murphy

The Jazz hit a franchise-record 28 threes in a 132-110 victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 22, and then sank 22 threes in a 114-89 win against the Lakers on Feb. 24. Utah became the first team in NBA history to hit 50 three-point field goals over a two-game span.

Joe Ingles is the team leader, shooting 45% from three-point range.

Utah has had 11 games this season with 20 or more made threes, already tied for the third most in a single season in NBA history. The record is 18, set by the Houston Rockets in 2018-19.

Important dates

Wednesday: Utah Jazz at Sixers, 7 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sunday: All-Star Game, 8 p.m. State Farm Arena, Atlanta, TNT

March 11: Sixers at Chicago Bulls, 8 p.m. United Center, (TV TBA)

March 12: Sixers at Washington Wizards, 8 p.m. Capital One Arena (TV TBA)

March 14: San Antonio Spurs at Sixers 6:30 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, NBA TV (Local TV TBA).

Passing the rock

Question: How consistent do you think the bench can be and if you think they should trade for someone, who would it be and what would you give up? — @wilson_burner on Twitter

Answer: I have been saying for a while that I think the Sixers need at least one more consistent scorer off the bench. Of course, the Sixers might have more ambitious goals. Keith Pompey wrote about the possibility of Kyle Lowry being available. If that is the case, even though he is in the last year of his contract, he could be the missing piece.

For somebody like that, Toronto would likely request Tyrese Maxey as one of the key players in return. While Maxey is only on the fringe of the rotation, the Sixers like his potential. The other player teams would inquirer about is Matisse Thybulle, who has been off the charts defensively, and barely a factor offensively. I would deal one of those players only if I could get someone back who could put the team over the top, such as a Lowry or maybe Victor Oladipo.

On a lesser note, former Sixer JJ Redick is in the final year of a contract and is reportedly available, and even though he is having an off season for New Orleans, Redick could be a factor for the Sixers. I wouldn’t include Maxey or Thybulle in a trade for him, so it wouldn’t be easy to acquire him, but I think he has enough left to make a difference.