In his first game since it was announced that Joel Embiid would not be an All-Star starter despite a campaign filled with fervor from both fans and Embiid himself, the rookie center will be looking to prove his doubters wrong against a struggling Trailblazers team.
Portland’s dropped their last three games on their way to a defense ranking 28th in the entire league (112.9 points per 100 possessions per basketball-reference), a matchup that could have Embiid feasting in the middle of the court on the way to a performance akin to Wednesday night’s 26-point, nine-rebound domination. With a slew of centers ranging from Mason Plumlee to Meyers Leonard, the Blazers have lacked a true interior presence defensively this season, so much so that they were frequently proposed as an obvious destination for the disgruntled Nerlens Noel earlier in the season.
While Portland’s calling card is clearly their offensive attack behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, a unit good enough to rank 10th in the league in offensive rating at 109.1 points per 100 possessions, this is their first test against The Process himself. The Sixers’ defensive rating of 100 with Embiid on the court, per basketball-reference, would be good enough to sit as the best defense in the whole league, topping the Warriors’ 103.9 points per 100 possessions in the process. Lillard and McCollum will certainly have to make adjustments when attempting to get to rack with Embiid waiting there for them as an elite rim protector.
My prediction? Sixers getting that W.
- Evan “The Villain” Turner returns to the South Philadelphia tonight. Turner, the former second-overall pick for the 76ers in 2010, was dealt during the Sam Hinkie administration at the trade deadline almost three years ago. Never forget the shitstorm that arose when Hinkie traded the “talented” Turner for a mere second-round pick.
With Evan Turner on board Pacers will basically be unbeatable now.— Chris Martin Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) February 20, 2014
The Pacers are loaded! Evan Turner off the bench is scary.— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 20, 2014
Very scary indeed.
- The Blazers gave Turner a contract worth $75 million last offseason.
- I don’t like Evan Turner.