2018-19 In Review | Joel Embiid
A Couple Thoughts...
At the end of a season, there's a refrain that Brett Brown frequently likes to say, and it goes something like this:
Where you begin next year is where you finished the year before.
Put another way, whatever the factors were that prevented (in this case) the 76ers or their players from reaching the goals they set for a season, that's where the team picks up again at training camp the following the fall.
For instance, after getting eliminated from the second round of the 2018 playoffs by the Boston Celtics, the Sixers came back last September intent on improving their defense against 'five-out' offense. The club clung to this point of emphasis throughout the season.
When it comes to Embiid, his third campaign in uniform didn't have a perfect ending. The two-time All-Star was one of the highest-impact players during the regular season, but due to health and some tough luck, he was put to the test in the Sixers' Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Toronto Raptors.
Had Embiid been at full strength, who knows how the hotly-contested seven game series would have ultimately ended up? That's not crying over spilt milk, but a fair, legitimate question based on how dominant the 7-footer is when he's in top form.
There's no question that on balance, Embiid's 2018-19 output was epically fantastic. He was deservingly decorated, doing stuff that few players have ever done.
Rather than rest on laurels, Embiid - during his final press conference of the year - swiftly shifted his focus forward. That mindset can only be viewed as a positive. He said things like he needs to become "more of a complete player," and rattled off a list of ways he plans to fulfill that pledge - from screen setting, to rolling, to picking and popping.
An even more motivated Joel figures to make for an even more dangerous Joel, a player whom general manager Elton Brand already considers "one of the best in the world."
"He knows what it takes," Brand said following the Sixers' Game 7 loss to Toronto. "Getting that taste of being so close and losing actually in my opinion is only going to fuel him to being better."
Given Embiid's competitive nature, talent, intelligence, and aptitude, there's little reason to doubt Brand's hunch.
A Big Number
Wow. Lots of options to choose from here, but we'll go with this nugget:
In three seasons on the Sixers' active roster, Joel Embiid became the third player in NBA history to rack up at least 3,800 points; 1,800 rebounds; and 300 blocked shots in 160 games or less. The feat was first achieved by David Robison, and again later by Shaquille O'Neal.
"I'm going to work harder, definitely going to be a much better player than I was this year. So I'm excited. I'm excited about all the work I'm about to put in, because I still got a lot to give, and I still have a lot of potential. I feel like a lot of people haven't seen what I can really do. I'm excited to go in and put in a lot of work."
. Joel Embiid.
That’s it. That’s the tweet.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 30, 2019