Brand: ‘Joel(Embiid) has quickly established himself as one of our game’s most dominant players’

The NBA announced today that Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers was named an Eastern Conference starter for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. It’s Embiid’s third consecutive All-Star Game selection after being named a starter in each of the past two seasons. He’s the first 76ers player to be named a starter in three straight All-Star Games since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson started seven straight from 2000-06. Embiid is also the eighth player in franchise history to be named an All-Star starter three times, matching Wilt Chamberlain with his third selection.

“Congratulations to Joel on being named an All-Star starter for the third consecutive season,” said Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand. “Through his continued hard work and intense desire to win, Joel has quickly established himself as one of our game’s most dominant players and a cornerstone of our franchise. His combination of power and finesse is truly special, as is the unique connection he’s made to our fans in Philadelphia. This is well-deserved, and we look forward to Joel representing the Philadelphia 76ers in Chicago during All-Star Weekend.

In his fourth NBA season, Embiid holds averages of 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He and fellow All-Star starter Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only two players in the league averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds and one block per game. Embiid has posted a team-best 24 double-doubles (sixth in East) in his 31 games, while his 21 games with 20 points and 10 rebounds are tied for the second-most in the NBA, behind only Antetokounmpo.

Embiid is one of four Eastern Conference players, and one of seven league-wide, averaging at least eight free-throw attempts per game, making at least 10 free throws on nine occasions. In five of those 10 free-throw games, Embiid has scored 30-plus points, something he’s done a team-leading eight times this season. On Dec. 12, Embiid joined Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes (twice) as the only 76ers ever to post at least 38 points, 16 rebounds and six assists against the Celtics.

Defensively, Embiid ranks sixth in the East with an individual defensive rating of 99.5. He’s one of eight-players league-wide with a mark below 100. Embiid, Antetokounmpo and Detroit’s Andre Drummond are the only three Eastern Conference players averaging at least 1.0 blocks and 12.0 rebounds per contest.

On Nov. 15 at Oklahoma City, Embiid’s 166th career game, Embiid surpassed 4,000 points, becoming the second-fastest 76er to reach the mark, behind only Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. The Cameroon native would later collect his 2,000th career rebound in his 174th game, becoming the fastest NBA player to reach the mark since Tim Duncan in 1999. The only 76er ever to post 2,000 career rebounds faster than Embiid was Hall of Famer George McGinnis in 1977.

In the Eastern Conference frontcourt, Embiid finished third in fan voting and second in both player and media voting.

Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the NBA All-Star Game starters, while current NBA players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each.

After all votes were tallied, players were ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes.  Each player’s score was calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes.  The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference were named NBA All-Star Game starters.

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Embiid: ‘My goal is Defensive Player of the Year and MVP'(VIDEO)

76ers C Joel Embiid has proven that he is one of the best big men in the NBA. Last season, Embiid had career highs in points(27.5) and rebounds(13.5) per game, and games played(64). However, near the end of last season and in the playoffs, Embiid struggled with knee tendonitis, which impacted his performance. 

To become a better player, Embiid felt he had to lose weight. According to the fifth-year player, he has lost 20 pounds. The 25-year-old Embiid believes the weight loss will help him as he tries to achieve four goals this season: winning a championship, getting the number one seed, winning Defensive Player of the Year, and becoming an MVP.

“Going into this year, one of the things we gotta focus on is we really want that number one seed, and that’s going to take 60 and over in wins,” Embiid said at 76ers’ media day. “And I know that team success also helps me when it comes to my goal is Defensive Player of the Year and MVP…

“My whole mindset is focused on winning. I gotta win at least 60 games. I know it’s going to put me in a better situation when it comes to other things, so that’s what I’m focused on, and obviously, you gotta championship. We got a championship-caliber team. We have a chance to win it, so it’s all about building that team chemistry and making sure everybody stays on the same page. I think we are going to be fine.”

Obviously, Embiid has to play more than 64 games to win MVP, and he expects to do that.

“It’s definitely going to be over that,” Embiid said.

Philly has the talent to be in the mix for an NBA title, and Embiid has the ability to be an MVP and DPOY. Therefore, if the 76ers have one of the better records in basketball and Embiid stays healthy, maybe all Embiid’s goals will be fulfilled. 

Listen below:

76ers scheduled to appear on national television 24 times next season

After making a big splash in the offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers are must-see TV. The NBA announced the schedule for the 2019-20 regular season today, and the Sixers will have 24 regular-season games that are slated to be on national TV across ABC, ESPN and TNT, including a season-opening matchup at home against Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.  Philadelphia will also play 12 times on NBA TV.

The 76ers open the road schedule at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. against the Pistons, before concluding the team’s first trip on Monday, Oct. 28 against the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Philadelphia is set to host 2018-19 Kia NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks at The Center on Christmas Day. The game is set for Wednesday, Dec. 25 and will be televised on ABC, starting at 2:30 p.m. The 76ers’ last Christmas Day home game was played on Dec. 25, 1988, when Philadelphia topped Washington 125-110, as Hall of Famer Charles Barkley tallied 25 points and 12 rebounds. Having played the last two Christmases (Boston, 2018; New York, 2017), this marks the 76ers’ third straight appearance on Christmas Day. The last time Philadelphia played on three consecutive Christmas Days was from 1986-88.

The Bucks, who reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and 76ers are set to face off three more times in 2019-20, with each game being played on national television. The two teams will meet twice in the month of February at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 at 8 p.m. on TNT and Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. Philadelphia and Milwaukee will close out the four-game season series at The Center on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.

Other notable highlights include:

  • To tip off an early season four-game Western Conference road trip, the 76ers will visit All-Star Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Nov. 2 (10 p.m.).
  • On Nov. 6 (9 p.m.), Philadelphia will take on 2018-19 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and the new-look Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
  • The 76ers will visit the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Monday, Nov. 25 (7:30 p.m.) in the first of four matchups between the division rivals. Last postseason, the two teams played a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
  • 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will make their lone appearance at The Center on Friday, Dec. 13 (7 p.m.).
  • In the two teams’ second matchup of the 2019-20 season, Philadelphia will visit Boston and All-Star Kemba Walker on Thursday, Dec. 12 (8 p.m.) on TNT.
  • Philadelphia will take on Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Dec. 15 (6 p.m.) at Barclays Center in the first of four matchups between the two teams. Also included in the four-game series, the Nets and 76ers will face off in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee on Monday, Jan. 20 (3 p.m.) at Barclays Center.
  • The Dallas Mavericks, led by 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Dončić and All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, will travel to Philadelphia for a Friday, Dec. 20 (8 p.m.) matchup on ESPN.
  • On Saturday, Jan. 25 (8:30 p.m.) on ABC, The Center will play host to All-Stars Anthony Davis, LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers.
  • Three days later, on Tuesday, Jan. 28 (7:30 p.m.), the Golden State Warriors, led by All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell will make their lone visit to Philadelphia.
  • The 76ers will play host to 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, All-Star running mate Paul George and the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday, Feb. 11 (7 p.m.) on TNT.
  • Philadelphia’s March 1-7 road trip will feature games at the L.A. Clippers (Sunday, March 1, 3:30 p.m., ABC), the L.A. Lakers (Tuesday, March 3, 10 p.m., TNT), Sacramento (Thursday, March 5, 10 p.m.) and Golden State (Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m., ABC). Three of the four games will be nationally televised.
  • On Tuesday, March 31 (7:30 p.m.) on TNT, the 76ers will take on Houston Rockets’ All-Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the only game between the two teams in Philadelphia.
  • The 76ers will have 18 weekend games (six Fridays, seven Saturdays, five Sundays) at The Center.
  • Philadelphia will play six games on ABC this season, tied for the most in the NBA (L.A. Lakers).

Philadelphia’s final regular season game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at The Center against the Hornets.

 BREAKDOWN BY MONTH:

OCTOBER: 4 games (2 home, 2 road)

NOVEMBER: 16 games (7 home, 9 road)

DECEMBER: 16 games (9 home, 7 road)

JANUARY: 13 games (6 home, 7 road)

FEBRUARY: 11 games (6 home, 5 road)

MARCH: 15 games (8 home, 7 road)

APRIL: 7 games (3 home, 4 road)

Are 76ers better today than they were at the end of last season?

The Philadelphia 76ers were very active on the first day of free agency. They reportedly re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year deal, traded Jimmy Butler(signed four-year deal with Miami) to the Heat in a sign-and-trade for Josh Richardson(deal still being worked on), and signed Al Horford to a four-year contract. Also, Mike Scott re-upped with the team, and JJ Redick has moved on to the Pelicans. These deals can’t be official until July 6.

So, at this point, Philly’s projected starting lineup is Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Joel Embiid. That is an excellent lineup, and this lineup has the potential to be very good on the defensive end. All the starters will be at least 6’6″ or taller. However, is it better than what they had to finish last season? Not so sure.

One of the issues Philly had before they brought in Butler, was not having a guy who can beat you off the dribble and effectively create their own shot. Butler did that for the 76ers. He was a guy you can give the ball to and ask him to make a play, which was on full display against the Raptors in the playoffs, where he led the team in points per game(22.0) and assists per game(5.6). He was Philly’s best player in that series. People forget it was Butler who tied the game up late in the fourth quarter before Kawhi Leonard hit that miracle shot to close out the series. With Butler taking his talents to South Beach, it’s going to be imperative for Ben Simmons to step up. Simmons, who made his first All-Star team last season, can do a lot, but since he has not developed his jump shot yet, he can’t be your closer. Also, Harris is a good offensive player. However, while he is solid off the dribble, he is not Butler, and for as good as Embiid is, he is not a guy who can get a shot off the way Butler can late in games.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this new lineup works for Philadelphia. It’s definitely more versatile and more athletic, on paper than what they had last season, but in terms of better, time will have to be the judge of that. Remember, this team was a couple of bounces away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and beating the eventual champions, the Toronto Raptors.

Obviously, they will add more pieces to this roster, but for now, it’s too close to call on whether this starting five and team will be better than what they had last season.

I guess we gotta see how this all plays out!

76ers’ Tobias Harris: ‘We didn’t have enough time to get the full chemistry'(VIDEO)

There were three different versions of the Philadelphia 76ers last season. They started the year with Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid as their starting five. Then, in November, Philly traded Covington and Saric to Minnesota to acquire Jimmy Butler, and finally, before the trade deadline, Philly acquired Tobias Harris from the Clippers, and after that trade, the 76ers had arguably one of the best starting lineups in basketball with Embiid, Harris, Butler, JJ Redick, and Simmons(Fultz also dealt before trade deadline).

Unfortunately, for the 76ers, it was not enough as they lost to Kawhi Leonard and the eventual world champions, the Toronto Raptors at the buzzer in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

While the 76ers had a lot of talent, they did not have enough time to develop as much chemistry as they may have liked, according to Tobias Harris.

“Obviously, we were one, couple bounces away from going into overtime versus the champs(Raptors) now,” Harris told Paul Gant on Wednesday at the 12th Annual Steve Nash Foundation Showdown in New York City. “We didn’t have enough time to really get the full chemistry as probably as we wanted to, but at the same time, it’s one of the most talented groups of players I have been a part of; we’ll see what happens. Having teammates here to talk to, Joel(Embiid), stuff like that. He’s the best big man in the NBA, so the talent level of the group was phenomenal, and we put ourselves in a position to win basketball games.”

Now, the 76ers have some decisions to make. Both Butler and Harris are free agents, and both will probably get max money. Whether that is in Philly, who knows, but Harris and Butler can make the most money with the 76ers, which can offer the most money and years. However, who knows how much that will impact their decision. On Wednesday, Harris outlined the things that will impact his decision in free agency.

“A great organization,” Harris said. “Obviously, winning is important for me; style of play is important, and just putting myself in the right opportunity to continue to improve my game and get better year in and year out. I know the work that I put in in the offseason correlates to the season, so I know what’s going to be expected of me as a player and just being in the right situation to excel at that.”

Listen below as Harris talks free agency, his short time in Philadelphia, his thoughts on possibly playing in Brooklyn, and more:

 

HOF English on Embiid: ‘I don’t know if he’s got the heart of a champion yet'(AUDIO)

The Philadelphia 76ers were very close to beating the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In Game 3, Joel Embiid was unstoppable. He dropped 33 points, collected 10 rebounds, and block five shots, and after three games, Philly was up 2-1 with an opportunity to go up 3-1 in Game 4 at home. However, Embiid would get sick; he was ineffective in Games 4 and 5. The Raptors would win both of those games and would win the series in seven after Kawhi Leonard’s buzzing beating, series-clinching jump shot.

Many point to Embiid’s health as one of the reasons the 76ers lost the series, and some pointed to his body language during Games 4 and 5. Embiid not only played sick, but he looked sick. It was written all over his face, and it looked as if the team was deflated because of it.

TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were critical of Embiid’s body language, and Hall of Famer Alex English noticed Embiid’s body language as well.

“I saw the very same thing, and that’s maybe why I’m saying and being as harsh as I am in saying I thought he looked really bad,” English recently said about Embiid on the Go4it podcast.  “I think that’s what it is; his body language, his hustle back on defense after he shot a shot, the effort that he put in a game. Those are the things that make me feel like I feel when I think of Joel Embiid.

“Before the playoffs, I said, ‘Hey man, this guy is the best thing since sliced bread,’ and after that, I’m like, ‘Well, maybe not.’ Because I don’t know if he’s got the heart of a champion yet, he’s still a young guy. It may take a while, but you’re in the NBA playoffs, you gotta give up more than what he gave.”

While he was critical of Embiid, English, like ESPN’s Mark Jackson, believes the 25-year-old center can be great, but he has some work to do.

“I think he will be one of the all-time great centers. I don’t think he will be the all-time great center,” English said. “It’s gonna be hard for anybody to top Bill Russell in my book, but I think he’s got potential. It’s parts of his game that he has to work on.

“There were times when he looked great out on the floor, and then, there were times he looked like a dog, and I don’t like that… He looked like he looked because of the way his health was at that moment. He was not feeling well; I only say that if you got the heart of a champion, you find a way to overcome. I remember Michael Jordan going into a series and just having one the greatest games of his life. Winning the championship being sick.(“Flu Game” in Game 5 of 1997 NBA Finals. Bulls would beat Jazz in 6) I know how it is when I played and I’ve been sick; I always picked it up and said, ‘Hey, I gotta focus even harder because of this.”

Embiid is special, and I think he learned a lot in these playoffs. The Sixers needed him to be at his best. In the Toronto series, the team was plus-90 with him on the floor, but they were minus-111 when he was off the floor, which shows that Embiid is a difference maker.

However, he has to get in better shape and do a better job of taking care of his body. If he can stay healthy, his name will be up there with great centers in the history of the game, but if he does not do what he can to stay healthy, we might be talking about what could have been.

Listen to the complete interview with English below. He talks Embiid at 08:46:

 

HOF Alex English likes Jokic over Embiid(Audio)

Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic did it all for the Denver Nuggets this season. The First-Team All-NBA star led the Nuggets in points, rebounds, and assists per game(20.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 7.3 apg). Jokic’s ability to do it all was one of the reasons Denver had the second best record in the Western Conference. Ultimately, the Nuggets would lose to the Blazers in the second round of the playoffs.

Is Jokic the best center in the game?

Well, there is a center in Philadelphia named Joel Embiid who might argue. The Second-Team All-NBA star was fourth in the NBA in scoring(27.5 ppg) and was second in the NBA in rebounding(13.6 rpg), and like Jokic, Embiid and the 76ers would lose in the second round of the playoffs.

If it were up to Hall of Famer and former Denver Nugget star Alex English, he would go with Jokic.

“Hands down I would take Jokic,” English recently told the Go4it podcast with host Paul Gant when asked to choose between Jokic and Embiid. “There’s even no question. I look at the effort he puts into the game, how he gets back on defense, his effort on the floor. What he does on the floor, I would take him without a second thought… He’s inside; he’s outside, he passes, he rebounds. He’s just a solid player for me.”

Both of these guys are big-time players. For me, it’s Embiid because of the things he does on the defensive end. Embiid(1.9 blocks per game) was a Second-Team All-Defensive center, and I believe he is a better scorer than Jokic, and statistically, Embiid is the better rebounder. However, Jokic is the better passer and is the best passing center in the game.

You can’t go wrong with either center, but in terms of pure talent, I have to go with Embiid, and if he can stay healthy, Embiid is the choice. However, if you have any doubts about Embiid’s healthy, you go with Jokic.

Listen below as English talks Embiid and Jokic at 7:55 mark:

Great courtside angle of Leonard’s amazing shot(VIDEO)

Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beating, series-clinching shot against the 76ers to send the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals was ridiculous, and it is was one of the greatest shots in NBA history.

Never has a seven-game series ended in this manner, which makes this shot even more special.

We have seen so many different angles of this shot, but I think we may have just found one of the best.

Watch Below:

Twitter reacts to Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning shot

What a Game 7 in Toronto, and what a fantastic shot by Kawhi Leonard. With the score tied at 90, Leonard shot a jump shot in the corner that bounced around the rim and went in at the buzzer, and the Raptors win 92-90 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Milwaukee Bucks, which starts on Wednesday.

After the game, Twitter reacted.

Here is a sampling:

Embiid to miss one week due to knee soreness; Furkan Korkmaz tears meniscus

76ers C Joel Embiid is experiencing left knee soreness and will undergo treatment involving physical therapy and load management. He had an MRI which revealed no structural damage, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania,  Embiid’s knee soreness is believed to be precautionary to ensure the All-Star center is best prepared for remainder of season — and playoffs. He could return as early as next week.

As a precaution, he is listed as out and will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.

Embiid recently played in the NBA All-Star game last Sunday night in Charlotte.

Also, according to the 76ers, Furkan Korkmaz sustained an injury to his right knee during the team’s Feb. 12 matchup vs. Boston. He underwent imaging, and an MRI revealed a meniscus tear. Treatment options, including surgery, are currently being assessed and considered.

Korkmaz remains out, and an update will be provided as appropriate.

The 76ers resume their season on Thursday at home against the Miami Heat.