Where would the Sixers be without Joel Embiid?
Wednesday night against Orlando, Joel Embiid scored 50 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in just over 27 minutes. That’s the fewest minutes played in a 50-point, double-figure rebound game in the shot clock era, which dates back to the mid-1950s.
Since returning from a prolonged bout with COVID-19, Embiid has taken the team on his shoulders. He’s recorded at least 30 points in 13 of the last 15 games as the 76ers have worked their way back into playoff contention.
After the Sixers’ defeat of the Magic, they were just 2.5 games out of the top spot in the East.
In the absence of Ben Simmons, Embiid is performing like an MVP this season, and it’s something to behold.
I don’t know how much longer he will be able to play at such an elite level. The window for the Sixers to win a title with Embiid as the foundation is only getting smaller. Last season, when the team finished with the top seed in the East, was a huge missed opportunity. The playoff series loss to the Hawks still rankles.
But this is a new year, and Embiid alone is worth the price of admission. Also, with the Simmons trade talks heating up, maybe a deal is in the works to bring Embiid some help. I look forward to seeing what team president Daryl Morey can pull off in a deal involving the disgruntled point guard. Morey has been patient so far, trying to get quality in return for Simmons. We’ll see if that patience pays off.