No Joel Embiid: The Typical Philly Overreaction
The Philadelphia 76ers are the best team in the Eastern Conference. All-Star caliber play from three different players, a deep bench, and significant improvements to the coaching staff have all played such a huge roll into this team’s success this season. The Sixers are currently sitting at 15-6 atop the Eastern Conference, and they aren’t looking back. While they are finding an extreme amount of success, there is no denying that the Sixers are a significantly worse team when Joel Embiid is out. The team is 1-4 without the MVP front-runner, coming off a huge comeback win in Indiana. Philadelphia is known for their overreactions, and although there is no denying that this team isn’t as good with Joel, we need to sit back and think about what we’re really losing when Joel Embiid doesn’t play.
Joel Embiid is the MVP of the National Basketball Association, and quite frankly, there isn’t an argument. The big man is averaging 28.3 PTS and 11.1 REB, while shooting 54% from the field, 40% from 3PT range, and 84% from the line. He’s dominating on both sides of the ball, with the team’s 13 of 15 wins coming when he is in the starting lineup. When a player means this much to your team, it’s gonna hurt you at an extreme cost no matter who else is on your team. Whether you have 2 other all stars, two 40% 3PT shooters, or anybody else, losing the MVP (Most. Valuable. Player) will never be easy (granted, the V in MVP stands for valuable).
Poor play without Joel somehow always finds its way to a Ben Simmons issue. The hate to Ben Simmons will never stop, I think everyone has accepted that fact by now,. The 2x All-Star is not a primary shooter, anybody with eyes can see that. But the hypocrisy of fans demanding Ben Simmons to step up and drop 30+ points when Embiid is out is beyond me, because absolutely everybody knows that just isn’t going to happen.
Basketball is a team game, and to ask a single player, who everybody knows isn’t a shooter, to shoot an extreme more amount of shots without the most valuable player who elevates everybody, is just a waste of time. Ben Simmons is a special player, and we tend to forget that most of the time. His all around play is a huge part of this team’s success, and we need to stop acting like he’s a sharpshooter that’s going to go out there and singlehandedly win the game. Ben is a team player, and thrives when the group is playing at a high level, and that says a lot about his significant importance to this team.
Losing the MVP is hard, and people need to realize that; however, Sunday’s Pacers game was a perfect example of a fantastic response without Joel, something they’ve been lacking. Everybody stepped up and did their job, and they planted a fantastic comeback against a good Indiana team.
“If you want to go quickly, go by yourself. If you want to go farther, go in a group”- Doc Rivers. This quote couldn’t be any more evident right now, watching an undefeated team with their full starting 5 absolutely dominate teams. The togetherness, chemistry, and entertainment that this team is putting on right now is an absolute show.
We need to realize that losing the MVP is going to hurt a lot, and we can’t expect this team to be an elite team without him. But for the first time this season, after watching a game without Joel Embiid, I gained an extreme amount of confidence watching how they put their heads down, and just flat out went to work. It’s what we need every night, not just from one singular player, but from the whole “group”.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Slocum | AP Images