Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has not looked like himself to begin the 2021-22 season. While he has looked very good as a passer as he continues to take steps forward in that area of his game and identifying double teams, they need the ruthless, dominant scorer out on the floor.
Embiid is currently playing with right knee soreness as he suffered the injury in the season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. He is averaging 19.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists through the first four games of the season while shooting 44.4% from the floor. All of those numbers, except for the assists, are down from the 2020-21 season.
In Tuesday’s loss to the New York Knicks, he only had 14 points on 2-for-7 shooting and he did not use his knee as an excuse. He also stated that he will push through the injury and hope for the best and there appears to be a reason for it.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Embiid is playing through pain in order to show leadership out on the floor:
He told after this game and in New Orleans, he couldn’t walk for two days, but he still went out and played in Oklahoma City, and obviously, he played against the Knicks…He’s playing because Ben Simmons is not playing and they need one of them on the court. He wants to show leadership at this moment, because as you say, you don’t want to fall behind where to where you cannot come back, but look, he’s settling for a mid-range game that he doesn’t have right now. Okay? The idea with Embiid is he lost out on the MVP last year because he didn’t play quite enough games. He doesn’t want to do that again this year, but if he’s going to play like this, where his knee’s not there, it’s not under him, he can’t get by people, he’s not moving well on the court. There is a sense that maybe he should sit a game or two to get that knee right, because it’s a meniscus injury. It has flared up after the knocking knees with Valanciunas, and they play the Pistons tomorrow. There’s a sentiment maybe he plays a couple of minutes and goes 25-26 minutes to get them off to a good start or sit down for a game or two to get that knee right because he’s trying to show leadership by being out there, but at some point, you’re not gonna win MVP if you’re playing like that.
As mentioned, the Sixers host the winless Detroit Pistons on Thursday which would be a great game for him to rest him. While the Pistons have an aggressive big man in Isaiah Stewart, they likely won’t need Embiid to win that game.
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Source: Yahoo Sports