I’m sure you’ve read about the Markelle Fultz and Drew Hanlen craziness by now and probably seen the horrendous free throw all over social media and ESPN.
So let’s talk about Joel Embiid instead, because I feel like I really haven’t written much about him this year. In every recap, it goes something like, “oh yeah, by the way, Joel had 32 and 12 last night, he’s just been so good in 2018.”
I guess the reason for the lack of words is because Joel is a known quantity. You expect him to go for 28 and 15 in every game now, and in the early part of the season, we’re focused on things like Markelle and Ben and their shooting and some of the new faces on the team.
Joel is on pace for a historic season. He put up 35 and 18 last night with six offensive rebounds. He shot 8-15 from the field, 3-4 from three, 16-20 (!!!) from the foul line, and turned the ball over twice while committing just one foul. That is a ridiculous basketball line, just elite in so many ways, especially for a 7’2″ center in the modern day NBA.
This is a 24-year-old guy who didn’t even start playing basketball until he was a teenager. The minutes restriction is a thing of the past. He is fully healthy and he is certainly an MVP candidate if he keeps playing this way.
Year to date, Joel is playing about five more minutes per game. His shooting is up and pretty much everything extrapolates to an improvement when you run his per-36 numbers.
Lemme give you the raw stats first:
His field goal percentage holds steady from last year, but you see a lot of improvement from the foul line. He’s getting there 11 times per game and hitting at 80%.
Here’s what it looks like if you run last year’s numbers on 36 minute parameters:
29 and 14 per 36 minutes. That’s wild stuff.
He’s averaging more points on fewer two pointers, and you see the increase in three point and free throw shooting. His turnover numbers are down significantly and his rebounding and block numbers look good. I think the improvement from the foul line has been a really pleasant surprise.