Joel Embiid placed in the 2A player ranking by the AthleticAugust 17, 2021
Joel Embiid: As the NBA offseason continues to push forward, now is the time for more player rankings as the season actually does get a little closer. The NBA is full of talented players and it is a challenge to rank them, but somebody’s got to do it.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a couple of controversial talents who are obviously good players, but their flaws hold them back. For example, The Athletic had star Ben Simmons was ranked in the 3C tier as he dropped in the rankings a bit.
Now, when it comes to the other star on the team, Joel Embiid, he had himself an MVP caliber season as he finished up as a runner-up. However, in the latest rankings by The Athletic, they have him ranked in the 2A tier rather than in the top tier.
Their reasonings for Embiid’s ranking:
The main things keeping Embiid from a leap to Tier 1 are concerns about durability and the related questions about the upper limit on how many effective minutes he can play in a game. To some degree, the problem was more about Philadelphia’s continued inability to maintain competitiveness with Embiid on the bench in the playoffs. In Philly’s second-round loss to Atlanta, the Dwight Howard minutes were always an adventure, and generally not of the fun kind. This resulted in Doc Rivers extending Embiid’s minutes and/or bringing him back into the game earlier than usual in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps coincidentally, but also perhaps not, Embiid’s efficiency cratered in fourth quarters of the series, his 50 percent true shooting percentage a far cry from the 60-plus he averaged in the first three quarters. Relatedly, the 76ers were outscored by over 13 points/100 possessions with Embiid on the floor in the fourth after having a double-digit positive net rating for each of the first three quarters.
His penchant for sloppy turnovers and slow defensive transition in many second halves of that series do nothing to contradict the impression that he wore down and lost effectiveness as games rolled along.
Those are fair concerns about Embiid’s play as he does have a tendency of sloppiness, but he also has lifted the Sixers on his back so many times and lifted them to victories when the team needed him the most.
Is Embiid perfect? No. Far from it, actually, but it does not change the fact that he is still an elite player in this league. His impact on the defensive end of the floor is paramount to Philadelphia’s success and he is turning into an elite player when he is doubled as he is able to attack them much more efficiently.
In time, he will have to continue to take steps forward in terms of his conditioning and durability, but he is still a guy who can take over a game at any moment in time.
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