- Joel Embiid has quietly been among the league’s most disappointing players.
- His offensive production and influence are both way down.
- The Sixers’ structure could doom Embiid’s impact and their NBA title hopes.
Tuesday was the perfect opportunity for Joel Embiid to emerge from a slump that’s gone mostly overlooked.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ franchise player had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists on 8-of-18 shooting in his team’s 97-92 win over the Denver Nuggets. A closer look at Embiid’s performance, though, suggests he’s owed less credit for the Sixers’ hard-fought victory than those solid but unspectacular numbers suggest.
In another highly-anticipated matchup between Embiid and Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia was thoroughly outplayed when both franchise centers were on the court.
A two-game sample size, of course, is hardly cause for real concern. But coupled with Embiid’s season-long labors, its further confirmation that the Sixers won’t reach their championship-level ceiling unless he starts playing far better.
Joel Embiid’s Waning Production and Influence
Talk of Embiid’s lackluster performance has been muted by Philadelphia’s strong play of late. After a disappointing 7-5 start, the Sixers have won 10 of their last 12 games, an impressive stretch that includes several victories over surefire playoff teams.
But just like the Denver game, Embiid has merely been a factor in Philadelphia’s recent success rather than the driving force behind it – a galling development for a player who’s supposed to be an MVP candidate.
The Sixers, as always, have been far better defensively with Embiid in the game. Even as they’ve yet to live up their all-time potential on that side of the ball, he’s a worthy Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
What’s troubling is that Philadelphia, for the first time in…