Rest is most valuable for our MVP
Before you read any further, let’s just take a deep breath and enjoy the Sixers 16-6 record. Let’s appreciate them having the best record in the Eastern Conference. Let’s celebrate that Doc Rivers has demanded to coach a team that wants to win and refuses to be pushed around. And of course, let’s hoist up Daryl Morey and Elton Brand on our shoulders for finding a team to take Al Horford and his contract.
This may be the best Philadelphia 76ers squad since the 2001 Eastern Conference Champions. That team started the season 10-0 and didn’t look back. Allen Iverson ran circles around defenses, Dikembe Mutombo wagged his finger enough to get tendonitis, and the blue-collar band of Eric Snow, Theo Ratliff, Tyrone Hill, Aaron McKie, and George Lynch didn’t even try to look pretty while they were boxing out for every rebound and diving for every loose ball. Plus Matt Geiger, well, he was most certainly there.
The 2001 Sixers were far from perfect, but they still had the entire city believing in them. Now here we are, 20 years later (anyone else feel old?) The 2021 Sixers certainly aren’t perfect either, and the majority of NBA fans and analysts probably don’t consider them to be actual contenders. That’s fine. We don’t care what the rest of the league and the talking heads think. This team is fun. This team is focused. And dare I say that this city is starting to believe in them.
This brings me to the point behind my ramblings. Much like the 2001 Sixers, the 2021 Sixers have an MVP candidate, but more importantly, an MVP candidate who is absolutely necessary to any success that this team is going to have in crunch time: Joel Hans Embiid.
There are many things to be jealous of Joel Embiid for, and his middle name is one of them. Try and tell me that “Hans” isn’t the MVP of middle names. But I digress. We’ve all known for years how truly special Joel Embiid is, but this season he’s been going next level HANS on the entire league. Other players fear him and with good reason. There is no other player with Embiid’s skill set and if you love impressive numbers, you’ll enjoy his averages of 28 and 11 while shooting 54% from the field.
But we’re only 22 games in with 50 games to go before the playoffs. And when those playoffs arrive, the Joel Embiid we’ve been watching this season will not allow his team to lose a series in Game 7 on a fall-away jumper that bounces 17 times on the rim before going in. So we need Joel Embiid to be at full HANS when the games really start counting. Therefore, I’m going to suggest some mandatory rest games for our MVP during the rest of this season.
Before I list them, some of you may now be screaming “But Embiid makes a lot of money. He should be trying to play EVERY game. I can’t believe I’m reading words written by a soft moron!” For most players, I’d agree with you. But as a physical therapist, I know a thing or two about the human body. Joel Embiid not only has a well-documented injury history, but he’s 7’0″ and 280 lbs. Most of us are at least a foot shorter and 60-100 lbs lighter, think about how difficult it is for you to walk like a regular human being the morning after just one CrossFit class. Now pretend you’re Embiid’s size and during every game, you have other professional athletes pushing, shoving, poking, prodding, jabbing, and hanging all over you out of desperation so you don’t posterize them.
Even this pandemic shortened NBA season is a marathon that isn’t even 1/3 of the way completed, and we all want to see our Sixers sprinting across the finish line, not stumbling. So yes, I’m borrowing the Coach Pop Spurs R&R itinerary to keep Joel Hans Embiid healthy and dominant. Here are the following games I suggest he sit out up until the All-Star break and why:
February 9 at Sacramento: This would give him 4+ days off plus there is nothing fun about being in Sacramento
February 17 against Houston: So Ben Simmons can take over and hit 9-threes to embarrass the Rockets owner
February 23 at Toronto: Because Fred VanVleet is going to score over 50 anyway.
The actual NBA All-Star game (if it happens): Nope. Just stay home, rest your back, avoid people, and play some NBA 2K.
The NBA hasn’t released the rest of this season’s schedule, but any game against the Wizards seems like a solid night for Embiid to kick back, relax, and watch them self-implode. Thanks for reading. Continue to support The Liberty Line, and cheers to the rest of this season! #HereTheyCome
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports