Ho Hum, Joel Embiid Absolutely Dominant (Again) as Sixers Win 7th Straight Game

Photo Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

At this point we could do a template for these Sixers recaps.

“Joel Embiid was dominant again on (insert day of the week). He scored (a point total >30) against (opponent) and added (X) rebounds. The Sixers win again, improving to (record) on the season.”

It’s plug and play at this point. The Sixers are going through a stretch of their schedule where opposing teams just don’t have anything for Embiid on the interior, and so he looks like an MVP candidate out there just battering opponents in the paint.

He scored 31 points in Monday night’s easy Houston road win, and did it in just 26 minutes. He sat the entirety of the fourth quarter as the Sixers cruised to a 111-91 victory. They very easily covered the 10 points on the road.

During the seven-game winning streak, Joel has logged the following stat lines:

  • at Rockets: 31 points, eight rebounds, six assists
  • vs. Spurs: 31 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists
  • at Magic: 31 points, five rebounds, four assists
  • vs. Rockets: 31 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists
  • at Nets: 34 points, seven rebounds, one assist
  • at Raptors: 36 points, 11 rebounds, four assists
  • at Wizards: 36 points 13 rebounds, one assist

It’s not exactly murderer’s row, and the Sixers played against some COVID-depleted teams during that stretch. That’s the Negadelphia take on the winning streak.

The Posidelphia take is that Embiid went for 34 and seven in the best win of the season, which took place in Brooklyn during this streak. That was a game in which Kevin Durant, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, and Nic Claxton started. On the flip side, last night in Houston, the Sixers were down Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, and Seth Curry, so they went with point-Furkan by necessity, and what happened in response? Embiid went on to lead the Sixers with six assists on the night.

You’re seeing the MVP candidate of 2021 during this stretch of games. If the opponent doesn’t have anybody to guard you, go down and dominate, and perhaps that’s reflected even more by Embiid’s recent success at the foul line. At the beginning of the year, he wasn’t going to the line at the historic rate he was last season, just 8.8 free throw attempts per game during October and 11.0 in November. But the season average is pulled up by a 10.9 December number and 11.2 January number, which means that only Giannis has a better FTA per-36 number than Embiid. The Greek Freak goes to the foul line 11.6 times per 36 minutes and Embiid gets there 11.5 times per-36.

He’s doing all of this with his typically-sky high usage rate, which is currently 35.1% and second in the league behind only Luka Doncic. Consider that, then go through his per-36 turnover and assist numbers, and you see that’s become so much more of a playmaker this season to compensate for Ben Simmons’ absence.

The stats:

  • this year: 3.1 turnovers (career low), 4.7 assists (career high)
  • last year: 3.6 turnovers, 3.3 assists
  • the year before that: 3.8 turnovers, 3.6 assists

He’s really come a long way in this area, which, ironically, is where Nikola Jokic had him beat in the MVP running. That, and the amount of games Joker played. But we talked a lot last year about how far Embiid’s offensive game had come RE: variety and multi-level scoring, and so picking Joel over Jokic last year for the award would not have been crazy at all. You could make a very good case that he was the better overall player when you include and value the defensive side of the ball.

Joel Embiid is putting up some insane numbers right now. The Sixers are beating teams they should beat. They are four games out of 1st place in the east. Daryl Morey needs to take a long, hard look at the entirety of the situation when deciding whether to trade Ben at the deadline or wait it out for a better return in the summer, because we’re getting prime Embiid right now.


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