At different points throughout the season, Joel Embiid was a vocal supporter of Dario Saric’s campaign for Rookie of the Year. But he has changed his tune, and he believes the award should be his and his alone.
I think so, Embiid said. "I mean, no disrespect to other guys. Dario [Saric] is my teammate and my friend, and I love him. And I know Malcolm [Brogdon] from when I was visiting schools. When I made my visit to Virginia, he took me around. They both had great seasons.
I know people are saying about me, 'Oh, he only played 31 games.' But look at what I did in those 31 games -- averaging the amount of points I did in just 25 minutes. I'm not sure why people want to punish me for that.
Even going back to the All-Star Game, I didn't get chosen for that, and people were killing me because I didn't play 30 minutes a game. But here's what I don't understand: If I put up those numbers in less time than another guy, what's the difference? Doesn't it mean I did more in less time? Wait until I play as many minutes as those guys, then you will see what I do
But people have their own ideas about how they vote for things.
In case the position of this blog isn’t clear enough already, give the man his damn award. He was the best rookie by miles, and greatness deserves to be recognized.
One other note — Embiid claims he was expecting a six-month recovery heading into the surgery, and claims an MRI on his knee was thought to show a full meniscus tear:
I feel very lucky,. When I went into that surgery, I went in thinking I was going to have a six-month recovery. That's what they told me: six months or more. I'm thinking, 'No, not again.'
When they did the MRI [before the surgery], it looked like my meniscus was fully torn. But when they got it in there, they realized that wasn't the case. It really turned out to be nothing, just a small, little thing. So that's very good.
It’s great news for things to turn out better than he feared they would, but this is sort of a new development in the saga. Most of the team’s public statements (and Derek Bodner’s initial report on his injury) referred to a “slight” tear, and minimized the seriousness of the injury. This sounds a lot more serious than the public was led to believe, so thankfully the results of the MRI that showed this did not come to fruition.
Let’s hope this is the last major setback in Embiid’s long, winding road taking him toward NBA dominance.