Embiid's Historic Season Leads to Second All-League Selection
While Joel Embiid insists his game still has plenty of room to grow, he's already established himself as one of the sport's elite.
That notion was further reinforced Thursday afternoon, when the big man was named All-NBA Second Team for a second straight season.
With the announcement, Embiid becomes the first 76er to earn All-NBA honors in consecutive years since Allen Iverson was tabbed First Team in 2005, and Third Team in 2006. Embiid was also selected to the 2019 All-Defensive Second Team.
Although Embiid was voted by members of the media to this year's All-NBA Second Team, he undoubtedly delivered a first-in-class season that propelled the 76ers to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
In 64 appearances in only his third campaign in uniform, the Cameroonian displayed a diverse, dominant skill set in essentially every phase of the game.
Embiid cranked out 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.9 blocks - just the third player in NBA history to produce those splits in a single season, per Basketball Reference.
Worth noting, however, is the perimeter touch that distinguishes Embiid from his peers in this category, as he connected on a career-best 79 triples this past year.
Putting Embiid's numerical output from 2018-19 in the proper perspective is a lengthy yet jaw dropping exercise. Here's a rundown of some of his most impressive historical high notes:
• Embiid managed 58 double-doubles, astoundingly the fourth-most in the NBA, despite appearing in 64 games. He was the lone player in the top-8 who played fewer than 70 contests.
• While not the flashiest part of his game, Embiid was relentless at getting to the foul line. Again, in a mere 64 outings, he wound up second in the NBA in free throws made (522), and third in attempts (649). He's the sixth player in league history to shoot a minimum of 649 free throws in 65 games or fewer.
• Embiid ended the regular season fourth in points per game, second in rebounding per game, sixth in blocks per game, third in Player Impact Estimate (19.6), and second in usage percentage (32.4).
• Embiid was the first player in 76ers history to maintain an average of 27.0 points and 13.0 rebounds for a full season. He now keeps company with Charles Barkley as the only players in team history to generate a 25-point, 10-rebound season average.
• Embiid joins Iverson, Barkley, and Julius Erving as the only Sixers to average more than 25 points in a season. Embiid's 27.5 points per game in 2018-19 ranks 10th-best on the franchise's all-time list, while his 13.6 rebounds per game places third-highest.
• Embiid's 58 double-doubles are tied for ninth in 76ers history, and were the most in a season since Charles Barkley churned out 61 in 1988-89.
Despite Embiid reaching this rarefied air, all the All-Star could focus on the morning after a Game 7 loss to the Toronto Raptors was individual improvement in order to do right by his team and city.
"I should play better," he told reporters. "I got to find ways to...play around other team’s game plans. I’m going to work hard and get it right."
Given how good Embiid already is, it's scary to think about what might come next.