Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers has been receiving a lot of praise for the way he has played recently. Posing a threat from all areas on the floor, especially in his post-play, he has put up elite performances. Joel Embiid is averaging 24.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and a career-high 4.2 assists in the current season.
Based on a tweet from the 76ers’ beat writer, Keith Pompey, Steve Kerr had some high praise for Joel Embiid. Leading up to the match-up against the 76ers on December 11th,2021, Kerr said –
“Playing against Joel Embiid is like going through a time machine. It’s like playing against Patrick Ewing, Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon. It’s a low-post game.”
Being mentioned alongside such names means expectations are high from Joel Embiid. In the current Philadephia 76ers roster, Joel Embiid is in a place to challenge for the regular season MVP award, which he missed out on last season.
Joel Embiid has played skilfully inside the paint
Joel Embiid is a force inside, bullying defenders to get to the ring. Embiid is attempting 66.6% of his shots from the paint. He has exhibited footwork that reminds Steve Kerr of the center-dominated era, but also brings to light Joel Embiid’s ability to shoot from deep, saying –
“He will step out and shoot 3s and run some DHOs [dribble hand offs] and he’s good with that, but he’s one of the few guys in the league now who can dominate a game from the low block and they’ve done a great job with their roster. Putting a lot of shooting around him.”
Another area in which Joel Embiid has troubled defenses is drawing fouls. In the current season, he has had big games from the free-throw line. Joel Embiid is making frequent trips to the foul line, using his elite footwork to score through contact. In the two match-ups against the Charlotte Hornets, he made 27 of his 33 free-throw attempts.
Throughout the season, Joel Embiid has missed 10 games, suffering from an injury and testing positive for COVID-19. However, the four-time all-star is back into the rotation to lead the Philadelphia 76ers. The Philadelphia 76ers have won four of their seven games since Joel Embiid’s return and have a tough run of fixtures coming up.
Joel Embiid’s previous game against the Utah Jazz was rather disappointing. Embiid scored only 19 points and grabbed 9 boards in a 22-point loss. There were questions on Joel Embiid’s lack of energy in the fixture. Doc Rivers has always been particular about his team playing good defense, wherever he has coached. Defensive strength is important for the 76ers to be in title contention for the 2021-22 season and Rivers seems to believe that as well. With the 76ers, he has maintained a defensive rating of 109.4 and they are currently 20th in the league.
The Philadelphia 76ers are facing the first placed Golden State Warriors in their next game. Stephen Curry is ten three-pointers away from beating Ray Allen’s record and will not shy away from deep shooting. To ensure a win against the Warriors, it is crucial for Joel Embiid to control the game with his physicality, right from tip-off.