PHILADELPHIA — Fresh off of dominating reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets to the tune of 47 factors, 18 rebounds and 5 assists in Philadelphia’s 126-119 comeback victory on Saturday afternoon, 76ers heart Joel Embiid expressed his emotions concerning not being voted as a starter for the All-Star recreation this season.
Embiid was chosen as a starter in every of the earlier 5 seasons, however did not make the minimize this season as he got here in fourth in frontcourt voting within the Eastern Conference behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum. Embiid is broadly thought-about because the largest starter snub. But, whereas the massive man felt slighted, the information did not come as a shock.
“Having been a starter the final 5 years, it’s type of disrespectful. I do not suppose anyone has had a greater 12 months than me,” Embiid mentioned to media members. “… I used to be not stunned. I feel it is effectively documented that I’m not well-liked and that is cool. I do not know if it is as a result of I troll lots or that I suppose I’m an asshole, nevertheless it’s cool. I preserve being me. I preserve being an asshole and I preserve trolling and if folks do not prefer it, that is their downside.”
As a two-time MVP runner-up who looks like he ought to have gained the award at the very least as soon as, Embiid has grown accustomed to slights — precise or perceived. This season, he is making an attempt to make use of them to gas workforce success for the Sixers.
“I’m used to it. It’s not the primary time,” Embiid mentioned. “I feel it is extra of a motivation to exit and attempt to win the entire thing. I suppose that is the one manner I’m most likely gonna get that respect. I feel we received a reasonably good likelihood. You play the perfect workforce within the West down 15 factors or one thing like that and to return again and to have the ability to win the sport, that offers us quite a lot of confidence.”
There’s clearly nonetheless a complete lot of ball left to play this season, however there’s good cause for Sixers to really feel assured after their victory over Denver. They’ve now gained six straight video games and 20 out of their final 24, and climbed all the way in which as much as second within the Eastern Conference. Embiid is taking part in most likely the perfect ball of his profession, James Harden can be acting at a near-elite stage and Tyrese Maxey is embracing his newfound position as a bucket-getter off of the bench. Plus, they’re deeper than they’ve been in latest seasons. As lengthy because the workforce can keep wholesome down the stretch, they’re going to have an opportunity to make an actual run.
When it involves the All-Star recreation, the truth that Embiid — the NBA’s main scorer and a high MVP candidate — is not beginning speaks loudly to the truth that the voting system is essentially flawed. As the sport has grown more and more positionless, the voting course of ought to observe go well with. The high 5 gamers in every convention ought to begin, no matter place.
Embiid swore the beginning snub did not present him with any added motivation within the matchup with the man who bested him in MVP voting the previous two seasons, however after the way in which his star heart performed on Saturday, Sixers coach Doc Rivers had a request for the basketball world.
“Let’s preserve offending Joel by fining him and never placing him on the All-Star starters,” Rivers mentioned.
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