Born to the African nation of Cameroon, Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel ‘The Process’ Embiid and his impressive play has drawn comparisons to another player from the African continent. Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid’s all-roundedness with his mastery of the post, rim protection and athleticism has only cemented the comparison and perhaps a high possibility of a Rookie of the Year win.
The 3rd pick of the 2014 draft, Embiid’s 76ers were scrutinised by fans and analysts for once again selecting a big man with history of injuries (Nerlens Noel was also sidelined for a year following an ACL tear). However, the ‘process’ of former general manager Sam Hinkie and his drafting of high risk-high reward players has led to a problem that isn’t necessarily a problem. Three top big men, Embiid, Noel and Jahlil Okafor are on roster creating a logjam with minutes and issues with spacing. With Noel and Okafor both in rumblings of trade talks, Philadelphia has the leverage with trade value on both players to acquire a scorer in the guard position. Additionally, with the team still in development, a high draft pick could await in what is seen as a stacked draft class.
Ex-General Manager Sam Hinkie sits with Joel Embiid.
While casual fans and pundits are quick to dismiss this process as risky and isolating the fans with the lack of wins, more in tune viewers and loyal fans of ‘the process’ see this approach as future-proofing the team through stock piling talent and avoiding mediocrity in the playoffs.
In an era where records are constantly/continuously being broken in the NBA, we have Joel Embiid, the diamond in the rough with the 76ers, ignoring current trends of small ball line-ups and keeping post play alive and well in the league. A player who only logs around 25 minutes a night and sits on back-to-backs but averages 20 PPG, 7.5 REB and 2.1 BLK. Not to mention this is his first full year in the NBA.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, the tides are changing. Already improving from last year, and with Ben Simmons debut estimated about a months time from now. It’s about 2 years away where we’ll start to really fear this team. The process is real, and its human embodiment is Joel Embiid.
Westbrook has been dazzling fans all season, and so far it has equated to OKC sitting at 7th in the West with a winning record just below .600. So far, Westbrook’s stats have been nothing short of eye-popping and yet even with all the stats combined it begs the question of how long this can act as the band-aid to the real situation that Oklahoma City is currently facing.
The 2017 All-Star starters were announced and as always there are disagreements with who made it and who was snubbed.
This week we’ll see Game 2 of the 3 game regular season match up between the Warriors and Cavaliers. As we’ve done since this rivalry started in 2015 each game has been magnified and broken down so much that we think it really has an effect on how the Finals will eventually end.
But does it really matter in the end?
The Knicks season started off with some excitement of what the team could accomplish which had Knicks fans hoping for the best and possibly a playoff seeding. As it turns out, it has been anything but that as New York continue to find ways to lose games and in some ways more embarrassing game after game. The Knicks are 1-9 in their last 10 games, bordering on being a .500 team and only 2.5 games outside of the 8th seed, giving them plenty of incentive to hold leads and beat the teams they should on the schedule.
Unfortunately it seems that the Knicks are a collective that are damaging themselves internally even with a healthy Carmelo Anthony, sophomore star Kristaps Porzingis and a contract-year Derrick Rose. Internal problems such as Carmelo calling his own isolation play in part frustrating coach Jeff Hornacek and vice versa when Hornacek draws up a play that Anthony gets caught on camera being visually disgusted with his coaches decision.
The Knicks appalling play has gotten so bad that reports of Derrick Rose abandoning his team following a reported “blow-up” with Hornacek, eventually resulting in the Knicks being unable to reach Rose before, during and even a while after the game had finished.
The last stretch of games and life in general for the Knicks has been anything but pleasent and when you suffer 2 losses on game winners it tends to sting a little more, causing heavy evaluation and reflection on how the team got to that point and why it’s not an isolated incident but rather a consistent shortcoming. It’s alarming when your franchise player releases this gem to the media regarding the target of the “blame game” in relation tot he Knicks performance:
“When We Win, It’s Us. When We Lose, It’s Me”
The real question is just how the Knicks will handle this and with the trade deadline coming up its only a matter of time before the Knicks and its players begin to decide their fate. The Knicks aren’t the only team struggling right now, however they’re actions and behaviour while dealing with the losses are being projected far more loudly than any other team in the league.