76ers // NBA

Playoff Failures Aside, We Need To Appreciate Joel Embiid More

It has been over a week since we last saw Embiid play. He missed a couple of games with an illness, and then the whole team had 4 days off after they missed out on the In-Season Tournament. But Joel Embiid made up for all that missed time. He dropped 50 points in a win over the Wizards. And it is a reminder of something important. We are very lucky to have Joel Embiid playing in our city. The Second Round Exit To The Celtics Changed Things Fans have not been as behind him as they used to be. Seeing the Sixers lose in the second round for the 5th time really took its toll on the mood of the fanbase. And it was hard to find excuses for Embiid this time after how he performed in the final two games. It was not all his fault, but he played a large part in why they lost those final two games to the Celtics. And it is fair for fans to be a little upset after watching Joel Embiid, and the rest of the team, fail to step up yet again. But some of it has gone too far. All offseason we saw fans calling for him to be traded. Many fans gave up on Embiid saying he will never win anything. They wanted to start over with Maxey as the main guy. Some people had just had enough of Embiid. They must not remember what it was like before Embiid showed up. Finally, Something to Cheer For In the era between Allen Iverson leaving, and Embiid showing up, there was very little to watch when it came to the Sixers. I am not just talking about The Process. Those years with Iggy and Jrue Holiday had moments. Seeing them upset the Bulls in 2011 was a ton of fun. But the overall product was best described as mediocre. There was no real hope for a ring, and nothing keeping us locked in every night. But now on any given night we can witness Embiid do something special. And even his off nights are better than 90% of the NBA. Embiid is doing historic stuff. Last night was his 6th 50-point game. In the past 25 years, every other center combined has 7. Shaq had just 3 in his career. He is scoring at a rate no center has scored at since Kareem. Embiid has the most points per minute of any player in NBA history. He won the scoring title in each of the past two seasons, and is the leader so far this season. All of this is to say, Joel Embiid is a special player. Better Off With Embiid Does he need to do it in the playoffs? Of course. But moving on from Embiid is not going to win you playoff games. All it would do is send us back to the dark ages. If you are sick of 2nd round exits, get ready for first-round exits. And get ready for there being much less to cheer for in the regular season. When comparing this era to what came before, we only look at the playoffs. And that leads people to the conclusion that Embiid hasn't changed much for this franchise. But what that misses out is that Embiid has made basketball relevant in Philadelphia again. We have something worth watching 3-4 nights a week. And we get to watch a guy do special things in most of those games. The Sixers didn't get a ring with Charles Barkley. But we can look back and know they were better off with him. The Sixers only had 1 run with AI. But they were better off with him. And the Sixers are better off with Embiid. Even if they will never win a single NBA Finals while he is here, they are still better with him. No matter what the past results are, he gives them their best chance to win going forward. You are not going to find another player, let alone another center, as great as he is. So appreciate Embiid. Hold him to a high standard, criticize him when he doesn't live up to it, and demand he and this team do better in the playoffs. But appreciate what we get to watch every night. Because Joel Embiid is a special player, and we do not appreciate what he does enough. Listen To Or Watch 'The Best Show Ever?' Live On The 97.5 The Fanatic And On NBC Sports Philly From 2 To 6 p.m. every Weekday [select-listicle listicle_id="507809" syndication_name="what-the-sixers-would-look-like-if-they-could-only-use-local-players" description="no"]  

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