What the Sixers Will Miss With Joel Embiid Out?
The Philadelphia 76ers found out earlier this month that Joel Embiid would be out for the remainder of the 2016-2017 NBA season. They released the following statement to the media: "The assessment of Monday's follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid's left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan," said Sixers chief medical director Dr. Jonathan Glashow, according to CSN Philly.
Joel Embiid reacted to the news by stating,"I wasn’t too happy with the way it was kind of handled before," Embiid said. "I saw the day-to-day part. I was told that I was going to miss at least two or three weeks. So I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled."
Now the Sixers weren’t heading to the playoffs, but this is still a damaging blow to their identity. The Sixers were just starting to figure it out and have been playing excellent basketball since the start of the New Year. In fact, they went 10-5 in January and were looking like a team with promise. However, with Embiid out for the rest of the season, the Sixers are going to miss a lot of things on the court and their play will be affected.
Here are a few things to be specific:
If I told you that Joel Embiid was averaging less minutes than half of his team , while averaging the most points on his team (by a large margin), would you believe me? Well, that’s the case here. Joel Embiid was averaging 20.2 points per game, while only playing 25.4 minutes before he went down. The next highest scorer on the team is Robert Covington who is averaging 12.3 points per game. It used to be Ersan Ilyasova at 14.8, however, he was traded away. Nonetheless, the difference between Joel Embiid and the next highest scorer is huge. Joel Embiid did it all for the team and he was getting better every game.
The Sixers are averaging 101.8 points per game and are now going to have to figure out how to make up those 20 points that Embiid provided. Embiid was a low post scoring threat that could occasionally spread the floor by knocking down threes. Embiid made it easier for the players like Nik Stauskas, TJ McConnell, and Dario Saric because he attracted a double team and made it easier for those players to get off their shots.
Joel Embiid was their primary scoring option and when you lose that, there is an adjustment that you need to make and the Sixers are going to have to use the rest of the regular season to figure it out.
Passion and Excitement
The first game of the Sixers season was against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the arena was sold out. Why? It was the debut of Joel Embiid. From the opening tip to the official announcement that he would be out for the season, Joel Embiid has brought nothing but passion and excitement back into the Sixers franchise. He’s energized the franchise, the players, and more importantly the fans. The Sixers will miss his energy on the court and his positivity.
Even after his injury, Embiid has remained positive as he recently told his fans on Twitter to remain trusting the process. “It's not time to lose faith y'all... Gotta trust it. Everything happens for a reason so trust me #TheProcess #GODgotUS.”
Joel Embiid has quickly become the heart, soul, and face of the Sixers and in the few games without him so far, they’ve lacked energy and have played tentatively. The Sixers are going to miss Embiid’s energy and passion.
Joel Embiid is an excellent rookie and has played well for the Sixers, but he means so much more than the stats he put up. Embiid is a symbol of hope for the franchise as he is looked at as the reward the Sixers have for being so horrible the past few seasons. The Sixers are going to miss his productivity on the court, but they are going to miss his positivity and energy more. It will be a tough month and a half for the Sixers, but all we can do now is “trust the process”.