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Report: Joel Embiid is eligible for First Team All-NBA as a center or a forward

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

A Twitter post by Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, Howard Beck, has some exciting implications for the 76ers’ MVP Candidate Joel Embiid. It appeared for a time that Embiid, in the midst of a career season, might actually miss out on First Team All NBA honors because of the silly positional loophole requiring only one center to make the roster.

It would have been ironic; in years past, centers were squeezed onto the team simply because voters had to pick one, reducing the overall talent pool of the honor. But this season they were facing the opposite problem: one of Denver’s Nikola Jokić or Embiid, the top two candidates for league MVP, not making the ALL-NBA First team at all! It was a ghastly and hideous prospect, which would have forever cast a pall of lunacy over the entire endeavor; in my humble and unbiased opinion of course.

But alas, there is justice in the world of regular-season awards again. If you ask me, I’d probably say that any ALL-NBA team that did not include Joel Embiid was a farce; who would have made it over him, some worse player on a worse team? HA!

Jokić is the MVP favorite, likely because of his superior “availability” over Embiid. Although to paraphrase NBCS-Philly’s Alaa Abdelnaby it’s easier to be available when you only play one end of the floor (burn)!!!

But the other element here is that Jokić is his team’s primary initiator. He’s one massive unicorn, an absolute stud and should be on this top five unit. Allowing him to be voted in as some sort of “point-forward-center” hybrid or whatever is fair anyway. Denver’s Facundo Campazzo is 5’10 in kicks and he’ll and sometimes grab a rebound and give it right to Jokić to bring 90’ up the floor and start a play. Now look me in the eye and tell me that’s a “traditional big.” This is the right thing to do.

Don’t let any Knicks fan who had hope Julius Randle might loophole his way onto that roster tell you otherwise.

For my money, the All-NBA squad would probably include Embiid at the 5, Jokić and Giannis Antetokounmpo as forwards, Steph Curry at guard. I’m open to debate on the final roster spot. I know Luka Doncic will probably get it. But Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Dame Lillard and perhaps a couple of others at least deserve consideration for the last spot.

If you wanted to make the case for Ben Simmons (eligible as a forward or guard) I certainly wouldn’t cut you off. I would very much enjoy being persuaded by a good case. Per betting sites, he’s the second favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, and unlike favorite Rudy Gobert, Simmons’ style of defense translates better to playoff basketball. Just saying....

In terms of Supermax eligibility, the difference between First and Second Team All NBA is not relevant. “The Process” is still destroying everything in his path, and is careening towards one. And now, barring a complete melt down by the voters you’ll be able to brag that Joel is a First-Teamer. As for Simmons, making one of the Second or Third Teams or winning DPOY would give him a path towards a Supermax of his own going into next season.

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