Everything seemed to be going well for the Sixers. The franchise selected Markelle Fultz first overall, draft and stash Euro prospect Furkan Korkmaz seems primed to join the team this season, and Ben Simmons is performing NBA Jam style dunks with ease.
For those wondering how Ben Simmons' offseason is going… 👀 (Via Ben Simmons IG) pic.twitter.com/KsEP6myr0L
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 25, 2017
After another disappointing season things seemed to be on the up and up for the young Sixers, then cruelty reared its ugly head once again. Last Monday night Malcolm Brogdon was nominated the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year at the inaugural NBA Awards over Joel Embiid. Yes, the same Malcolm Brogdon that averaged 10.2 points per game. Yes, the same Malcolm Brogdon that only started in 28 games. Yes, the same Malcolm Brogdon that had just two twenty point performances in 75 games this season. This is not an error or typo ladies and gentlemen- this actually happened.
I have gone through every piece of conceivable evidence and there is no logical explanation as to why the NBA crowned Brogdon ROY over Embiid. Let’s start with the obvious- the stats (courtesy of sports-reference.com)
As you can see, Embiid averaged more points, rebounds, assists, and blocks than Brogdon- commonly referenced measurements when comparing players. Embiid literally averaged ten more points per game on a 25 minute restriction than Brogdon did without any kind of restrictions. Impressively, Embiid did this while shooting a higher field goal percentage while surrounded by inferior offensive talent. It’s also important to note how close their three point percentages are despite Brogdon being a shooting guard and Embiid being a 7’2 center. Embiid’s dominance was not limited to just offense; however, as he was an absolute force on defense. In fact, Embiid ranked first in the entire NBA with a defensive rating of 99.1. JoJo’s rating of 99.1 slightly edged that of DPOY Draymond Green (99.3) and DPOY runner up Rudy Gobert (100.6) by nearly two points. Embiid also ranked first in opponents points in the paint (20.2), highlighting his efficiency at protecting the rim.
Here’s where things really get crazy. Somehow Embiid managed to rank second in the league in % Blocks at 63.9%. For those that are unfamiliar with the statistic, it represents the percentage of blocks a player accounted for out of all the blocks the team registered. To put it simply, Embiid managed to swat 63.9% of the Sixers blocks despite playing in only 31 of the team’s 82 games. I am absolutely flabbergasted and impressed by this feat, and just can’t say enough about Embiid’s dominance on both ends of the court. Even more impressive, Embiid accomplished this after being shelved for two years with injuries. One would imagine that Embiid outperforming Brogdon after being unable to play for two seasons would be enough to definitively say Embiid is better, but the NBA is oblivious to logic at times.
Haters Skeptics say that Embiid didn’t play in enough games to take home the hardware, which leads me to my next point.
Although Brogdon played in 75 games this season, he only started in 28 of them- less than Embiid’s 31 starts. Many claim that had Brogdon started all season he would have produced more, which is more fake news. In his 28 starts this season, Brogdon averaged a mere 10.9 points per game- a slight increase from the 10.2 he averaged on the season. Embiid; however, made the most of his starts. The former Jayhawk scored fewer than 20 points just 12 times and scored 22+ in 16 of 31 starts. Embiid was simply amazing for the Sixers this past season and dominated on both ends of the floor.
In fact, the only rookies to average as many points, rebounds, and blocks as Embiid are as follows: Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Ralph Sampson, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O’Neal. I advise that you don’t hold your breath if you decide to look for a non-Hall of Famer on that list. Embiid literally had a historic rookie season and should not be punished for having injury issues.
Although it’s a relatively small sample size, it’s apparent that Embiid is a superior player to Malcolm Brogdon, and was head and shoulders better than any other rookie this season. The NBA should be ashamed of themselves for foolishly neglecting his accomplishments, and win clowns of the day for awarding a player Rookie of the Year who didn’t even win Rookie of the Month once this season.
Something tells me that when it is all said and done; however, Embiid will get the last laugh as he continues to transcend expectations and help turn the Sixers into a dynasty. So congrats and enjoy it while you can Brogdon, because soon your name won’t even be allowed to mention in the same breath as Embiid.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports