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Joel Embiid thought he deserved an All-Star spot

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Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez, left, watches as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid shoots during the second half of the NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez, left, watches as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid shoots during the second half of the NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

One of the more popular young players in the NBA, Philadelphia rookie center Joel Embiid didn’t take it too personally when the league’s coaches failed to select him as one of seven reserves for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

While the fans gave Embiid the third-most votes among East frontcourt players — the former Kansas big man trailed only superstar LeBron James and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo — Chicago’s Jimmy Butler took the third frontcourt starting spot, with the support of player and media votes. The coaches chose Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Indiana’s Pual George and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap for the East’s backup bigs and forwards.

“A little disappointed,” Embiid said of his reaction to being left off the team, while speaking with reporters Friday in Philadelphia. “A lot of guys that made it deserved it, and I’m young, so I’m gonna get a lot of chances, so I’m not (too) disappointed.”

Asked if he could use the snub as motivation, though, the 22-year-old center stated his case for why he should’ve become the league’s first rookie all-star since Blake Griffin, in 2011.

“I thought I deserved it,” said Embiid, who in 30 games for the 76ers is averaging 19.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists, while playing 25.3 minutes. “You know, not that I care about my stats, but that’s one of the points that could’ve been proven. But I think the thing was the minutes, which I didn’t understand. If you average that many points in 24, 25 minutes, I don’t know. That should be the case. But, like I said, I’m not disappointed. I’m happy for those guys.”

Embiid vs. Love, George and Millsap
Rk Player Age G MP
FG% 3P% 2P% eFG% FT% ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1Joel Embiid223025.3.462.348.495.501.7772.07.82.10.82.53.73.619.8
2Kevin Love283932.1.429.376.472.514.8692.611.01.90.80.42.11.920.5
3Paul Millsap314334.0.444.335.481.486.7501.78.13.81.51.02.32.618.0
4Paul George263835.4.453.395.485.522.9230.86.03.31.70.32.82.722.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/27/2017.
Embiid vs. Love, George and Millsap
Rk Player Age G MP PER
TS% 3PAr FTr ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
1Joel Embiid223075823.9.579.225.5828.825.017.016.11.67.817.936.2
2Kevin Love2839125022.2.579.454.3588.928.518.99.91.30.910.627.0
3Paul George2638134719.2.580.348.2782.515.89.315.72.30.612.727.7
4Paul Millsap3143146318.6.536.250.3615.420.813.118.32.22.512.024.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/27/2017.

As Embiid referenced, his relative lack of minutes played in comparison to his colleagues chosen as all-stars by the coaches likely made the difference in the debate. Love, George and Millsap all have played in more games this season and spent less time on the bench than Embiid in those starts. Based on clocking in and clocking out, they’ve put in more game work than the rookie this season, and that means a lot to coaches.

Embiid did have some good news, though, after sitting out of the Sixers’ previous three games, in part because of a left knee bruise.

“I’m feeling good. My knee’s feeling great,” the 7-foot-2 phenom from Cameroon reported.

So are Embiid’s teammates, because, unlike in recent seasons, the 76ers are actually competitive. The young face of the franchise said the energy around the organization has been “amazing” of late, with Philly winning eight of its last 10, and even picking up two victories in his absence.

“My job here is kind of like to change the culture,” Embiid said. “The Sixers, the past three years, people have said that they’re trying to tank or whatever, but that wasn’t the case. Now we’re proving that we’re trying to win, trying to make the playoffs and I think we’ve got a pretty good chance. So my job here is kind of like to bring the excitement back to the city and just change the culture.”

Philadelphia (17-27) enters Friday’s nationally televised game against Houston 4.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Comments

Humpy Helsel 3 months, 4 weeks ago

With Joel, there is always an asterisk because of the injury history. But, assuming he stays healthy, he'll have a bunch of chances to be named in the future. In Philadelphia, this will even make him more popular there with those unique set of passionate fans. For them, the whole city just got snubbed with JE.

It is always :"woulda, shoulda, coulda" but with he and Wiggins together the whole year into the NCAA tournament... well...who knows. I'd sure would have liked to have seen it.

Rae Bricil 3 months, 4 weeks ago

could you imagine if they were still here playing their senior year together

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