For the fifth consecutive year, Joel Embiid was introduced as an All-Star Starter as a representative of the Philadelphia 76ers. The MVP front-runner gave his best effort in the game and proved why he belongs with the best of the NBA. After being selected with Kevin Durant‘s first pick and the second overall selection in the all-star draft, Embiid prepared to take the court with Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, Trae Young, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, and more as his teammates.
The Game Itself
LeBron’s extensive experience as a behind-the-scenes GM likely gave him the edge when drafting these all-stars, causing the Vegas line to favor Team LeBron by 5.5 points entering the game. Despite Team Durant holding a small lead for most of the game, it was Team LeBron who flipped the switch late and managed to come out on top. Showered by praise from the Clevland crowd, it was LeBron James himself who knocked down the game-winning shot over the outstretched arms of Zach LaVine and the help defense of Joel Embiid to secure the win.
The game possessed the usual criticisms of an all-star game, such as there being limited defense played and some flashes of overall disinterest. This changed in the fourth quarter as the scoring changed from time-based to aiming for the target score of 163. The intensity picked up down the stretch, including an impressive block by Giannis and Embiid hilariously getting to the free-throw line on multiple possessions as if this were a normal Sixers game.
Joel Embiid’s Performance
It was very cool to watch Embiid go head-to-head with the NBA’s best and prove he certainly belongs. The current NBA scoring leader did his best to carry Team Durant and scored a team-high 36 points in the loss. It was only Steph Curry who outscored Embiid in the game as Steph scored a ridiculous 50 points and knocked down an absurd 16 three-pointers. Curry unsurprisingly took home the All-Star MVP trophy, which was one of the few missing accolades on his already impressive resume
While the All-Star game is mostly about putting on a show, the accomplishment of having the honor of being in the game should not be lost. It has been 8 years since the Sixers drafted Joel Embiid, with him only able to take the court for 6 of these years. While the entire league is enjoying the fruits of Embiid’s labor, it should not be forgotten the long path that it has taken to get here.
With serious concerns about Embiid’s ability to ever play basketball since the moment he came into the league, it should be acknowledged just how impressive it is that he is reaching these levels of play. It has been a long process for Embiid and the Sixers, but it has been proven that trusting it the entire way has clearly been the right decision.