Joel Embiid took to Instagram Friday night and – as has become customary this time of year – released his Eastern Conference playoff predictions and declared “#ImOut” (more on that later).
Embiid’s predictions were as follows:
Round 1: Brooklyn Nets
Of course, we know the Sixers are going to take on the Nets in the first round. His choice of victim in the photo is interesting. What did Allen Crabbe ever do to Embiid? Poor fella.
Round 2: Toronto Raptors
Another no-brainer. Orlando pushing the Raptors to a Game 5 would be impressive. Anything beyond five games would amount to divine intervention. The Sixers should meet the pictured Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors in the second round. In my estimation, Toronto – not Boston – represents the worst matchup for Embiid and the Sixers. Were Philly to advance, we’d be looking at a trip to the Finals.
Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics
I know no one wanted to see Boston in the postseason. In fairness, I’m not certain the dysfunctional Celtics could get by Milwaukee. I thought the Pacers had a shot to eliminate Boston in Round 1, but a terrible end-of-season skid cost them home-court advantage. If the Sixers were to get past Toronto after an exhausting six or seven game series, Boston would represent an opportunity to exorcise the demons of last postseason. Aron Baynes and his man bun/top knot better watch out.
NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors
Sure. Why not? What could be better than an NBA Finals date with the Golden State Warriors? For as great as the Warriors are, I think they’re actually a more favorable matchup for the Sixers than the Raptors. Would Embiid and Co. still fall in six or seven games? Probably. That said, they could definitely put some fear into the hearts of Steph Curry and Steve Kerr. Perhaps they could be the catalyst for Kevin Durant jumping ship. Maybe, just maybe, Embiid will pitch a twin-tower offense to DeMarcus Cousins for the 2019-20 season.
The first interpretation is that Embiid is ruling himself out for Game 1 against the Nets. I think it’s highly unlikely, given the rest of the post. The second interpretation is that Embiid is “out” of the social media game for the postseason, similar to what his teammate Ben Simmons and former playoff standout LeBron James famously did every season until this one…