The play of Philadelphia 76ers rookie Joel Embiid has been turning heads all over the NBA. But he’s just getting started folks. His real value shows when the team plays in post season
The Philadelphia 76ers are happy. The fans of the Philadelphia 76ers are happy. Even the NBA entrenched executives are happy. The Philadelphia 76ers, buoyed by the stellar play of rookie center Joel Embiid, are winning in bunches now. The team is 6-2 in 2017, and have defeated three play-off caliber teams in this stretch, including a shocking victory over division leading Toronto Raptors.
Now you get Joel Embiid, but he just power up’d on you.
You see, Joel Embiid is problematic in the NBA, but especially deadly when you place him into a post season scenario. He’s an basketball center who plays like a stretch-five (he’s the first of his kind, I believe). His range and wingspan clog up the lanes in the paint like few in the NBA. He is fast, agile, balanced, and he has a great IQ. And to top it all off, he is getting better with each game film he can load and watch. You see, he improves by watching film too.
He can deliver solid offense at the post, but he can pull up and begin dropping threes. In fact, his versatility makes it extremely difficult to lock in what he will do offensively.
But his true challenge to opponents is his defense. He is fearless, and has a range that covers far more than an average player. It’s that range, and will, that makes him the key to Brett Browns’ defense.
How Do You Outcoach A Player Who Does Everything?
NBA offenses live on mismatches. How do you mismatch a powerhouse 7-foot-2 who can outmuscle at the post, but who is as agile as a cat? Now consider those long arms of the law and you can already envision the head-scratching-to-come.
But the ultimate challenge is the fierceness of Joel Embiids competitiveness. Certainly, the best coaches and players will figure out plays, tendencies, and weakness on Joel Embiid, and exploit those.
But he doesn’t cower. Defeating Joel Embiid makes him angrier, more focused, and more determined. After an embarrassing loss on national television to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Embiid called for revenge before the game was played.
Embiid on playing Timberwolves after bad loss to them: “I think it’s payback time.”
Whether he’s exorcising all the trolls from the past, predicting a win when many believe the game will be certain defeat, or simply basking in the love and applause from the fans after a hard fought victory, he’s connected to the fans.
And perhaps that makes him the most dangerous player in post-season in the NBA. He’s not playing for jewelry or trophies. He playing for the love and pride of a city. He’s playing to validate the trust placed in him years before he would compete on an NBA basketball court.