Joel Embiid is having a historic season. The Philadelphia 76ers star is averaging 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, with a league-leading 33.5 player efficiency rating. He is the frontrunner for the MVP award and a lock for the All-NBA first team. He is also the anchor of the Sixers’ defense, which ranks second in the league in defensive rating. He is, without a doubt, the most dominant player in the NBA right now.
But there is a dark cloud looming over Embiid’s brilliant season: his injury history. Embiid has missed 18 games this season, mostly due to his troublesome left knee. He suffered a bone bruise in March, which sidelined him for 10 games. He returned to action in April but tweaked his knee again against the Indiana Pacers. He played through the pain against the Golden State Warriors but was ruled out for the next game against the Denver Nuggets.
Is Embiid Ducking
This was not the first time Embiid skipped a game in Denver. In fact, he has never played in the Mile High City in his six-year career. Some critics have accused him of ducking tough matchups, especially on the road. Embiid has missed four of the Sixers’ hardest games this season, against the Utah Jazz, the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Nuggets. He has also faced questions about his conditioning and his durability, as he often looks fatigued or in pain on the court.
No Foul Play
Embiid has denied any allegations of avoiding big games and has said that his focus is on being healthy for the playoffs. He has also said that he is motivated by the MVP award and that he wants to prove that he is the best player in the world. However, his chances of winning the MVP and making the All-NBA team may be affected by the NBA’s 65-game rule, which requires players to participate in at least 65 games to be eligible for those honors. Embiid has played 45 games so far, and with only 12 games left in the regular season, he will fall short of the minimum requirement.
65 Game Rule
The NBA implemented the 65-game rule in 2013 after the San Antonio Spurs rested their star players for a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat in 2012. The Spurs were fined $250,000 by then-commissioner David Stern, who called their decision “a disservice to the league and our fans”. The rule was meant to discourage teams from resting their players for strategic reasons and to ensure that the fans get to see the best players on the court.
However, the rule has also been criticized for being unfair and outdated, especially in the era of load management and player empowerment. Some argue that the rule penalizes players who suffer legitimate injuries and that it does not account for the shortened and condensed season in 2020. Some also point out that the rule is inconsistent, as it does not apply to the Rookie of the Year award, which Embiid was denied in 2017 despite playing only 31 games.
The NBA has not announced any changes to the 65-game rule, and it is unclear how it will affect the voting for the MVP and the All-NBA teams this season. Embiid’s injury status is also uncertain, as the Sixers are weighing their options for his treatment. Embiid may need to undergo a corrective procedure, which could sideline him for the rest of the season, or he may opt for rest and rehabilitation, which could allow him to return in time for the playoffs. Either way, the Sixers will have to prepare for life without Embiid for a while, and hope that he can come back stronger and healthier than ever.
Is The Process Over
Embiid’s injury woes and award hopes are the latest chapters in the story of his career and the Sixers’ franchise, which have been marked by highs and lows, setbacks and comebacks, and hopes and fears. Embiid has overcome many obstacles to become one of the best players in the league, and he has shown resilience and determination in the face of adversity. He has also brought joy and excitement to the fans, with his dazzling skills and charismatic personality. He is the heart and soul of the Sixers and the key to their championship aspirations.
Embiid’s season may be in jeopardy, but his legacy is not. He has already proven that he is a force to be reckoned with and that he deserves to be in the conversation for the MVP and the All-NBA honors. He has also shown that he is not afraid of any challenge and that he will not let anyone, or anything stop him from pursuing his goals. He is, as he likes to call himself, the Process. And the process is not over yet.