Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid’s presence alone is unstoppable

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

Statistically speaking, Joel Embiid is virtually unguardable, but The Process’ on-court presence alone is what makes the Philadelphia 76ers truly unstoppable.

Joel Embiid, fresh off his 25th birthday, is not a man devoid of confidence.

Need proof? Look no further than his post-game press conference with ESPN after the Philadelphia 76ers‘ win over Boston, where ‘The Process’ modestly described himself as not only ‘the best defensive player in basketball’, but also as ‘the most unstoppable player in the league’.

See, modest.

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Now granted, Embiid almost surely felt unguardable after finally dealing a loss to the Boston Celtics after dropping three straight to the Brad Stevens‘ boys so far this season, but the statement itself isn’t without merit.

As things presently stand, Embiid ranks fourth in points per game (27.5), second in rebounds (13.8), seventh in blocks (1.9), and second in free throws made in the league (487).

Furthermore, while Embiid has the fifth highest usage rating in the league (32.2), he only averages 3.6 turnovers a game (sixth), 1.8 less than the number of baskets he scores within nine feet of the basket each game.

Oh yeah, did I mention he scores 60 percent of his nine shots a game from within five feet of the basket, good for the 10th best mark in the league? No? Well, that’s true as well.

However, that’s not what makes Embiid, and by extension, the Sixers unstoppable, no, for how unguardable JoJo’s game is on the court, it’s his presence that makes the team oh so potent.

You see, when Embiid is actually on the court, the Sixers just play better.

Sure, that might be because Embiid is the best center to play in the NBA since Shaq, but it’s also because he’s the team’s heart and soul. When Embiid isn’t available, Brett Brown‘s offense can run faster, switch more, and even at times match up getter against opposing schemes, but they play like a team running on autopilot.

They have no heart, no energy, and have struggled mightily to secure a W over a (woefully) mediocre team like the Charlotte Hornets.

For his (at times) ball-hoggery, his propensity for taking wild 3-pointers, and his undeserved closer mentality, Embiid is the kind of player who keeps a team’s offense humming for the first 46 minutes of action, saving the final 120 seconds for a player like Jimmy Butler to do his thing.

Really, to paraphrase notorious Philly hater Skip Bayless on Thursday’s episode of FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ ‘the only player who can stop Joel Embiid is Joel Embiid‘.

High praise from Mr. Dallas himself, and really I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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With most teams lacking a genuine presence in the post due to the league’s propensity for small ball scoring, Embiid can pretty much score at will in the paint, while having a big enough bag of tricks to keep things interesting from virtually anywhere on the court, but it’s his leadership and charisma, moreso than any other facet of his game that makes Philly the toughest out in the East.