During a conversation with Marc Zumoff (@marczumoff ) earlier this week, Sixers’ Joel Embiid gave a glimpse into how he felt he was performing prior to the NBA’s league-wide shutdown.
“Especially after that All-Star Game, my mentality just completely changed. First part of the season, it wasn’t up to my standards — not even close. I was on that path to just changing all that and making it happen.”
Embiid is currently averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. While still a very impressive stat-line (one good enough to land him his third consecutive All-Star nomination) it’s a notable drop off in production compared to last year. During the 2018-2019 season, Embiid averaged 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game.
Embiid got off to a slow start this season, struggling to adapt to a new starting lineup which included power forward/center Al Horford. Embiid’s injury to his hand in early January didn’t help the situation either. The 26 year old center required surgery and was rushed back into action just a few weeks later, noticeably struggling as he had to play games with a cast on.
As Joel got further and further removed from his injury, things began clicking for him. He put up 39 and 16 in an electric overtime win against the Nets on February 20th, and then just four days later he dropped a career-high 49 on the Atlanta Hawks.
Embiid has been known to be a streaky performer in the past. When he’s 100% focused, however, there’s no denying the dominance he brings to the court. Acknowledging that his first half of the year wasn’t great, and stating that he’s far more involved now, should excite fans.
With a NBA return rumored to happen sometime in late July, seeing a mentally locked-in Embiid back in action for a playoff push is definitely good news.
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