You knew it was coming eventually.
Joel Embiid, who has been the best player on the planet the last couple months, will sit Monday night vs. the Grizzlies as part of a planned rest. The All-Star center had played in 21 straight games, the most he’d played in consecutively since the start of the 2018-19 season.
During that span, Embiid averaged 33.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Even without playing in the last game of the month, it feels safe to say that Embiid will earn his second consecutive Player of the Month honors for the East. The January numbers are slightly more ridiculous (34 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists) and the Sixers were 11-3. The team is just 1.5 games of the conference’s first seed thanks to Embiid’s heroics.
“Really, two summers ago, obviously, you can’t control injuries, or freak injuries and I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t had any major ones especially after the first two years that I’ve missed,” Embiid said to reporters postgame last Thursday. “Obviously, last year I had a tough one. Then this year, besides missed time during COVID, I think I’ve only missed one game and that’s probably because of rest so it’s good. We are in a good rhythm, the whole team around me is making sure that everything is in place for me to be able to continue to produce on the court.”
It is disappointing that Embiid will miss what promised to be an entertaining matchup. Ja Morant is one of the few players playing near Embiid’s level and the third-year guard has led Memphis to the third-best record in the West. The first-time All-Star is also having an outstanding January, averaging 28.6 points a game.