The 76ers have the fifth-best record in the NBA, they’re third in the East at 28-16, they’ve rattled off three road wins in a row led by their perennial MVP candidate, Joel “The Process” Embiid.
It’s time to vote for your 2023 NBA All-Stars, and the league released some updates Thursday afternoon.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead their respective conferences in the third fan returns of #NBAAllStar Voting presented by AT&T.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 19, 2023
Fans account for 50% of the vote to decide All-Star starters. NBA players and a media panel account for 25% each. pic.twitter.com/nqNZqkeVJw
Based on the league’s quirky rules, there is only room for three starting front-court players in each Conference. And in the latest update, Joel Embiid trails the third-place vote getter, Boston Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum by 203,379 votes. He’s also behind Giannis (first place) and Kevin Durant (second).
Embiid is averaging 33.6 points per game, second only to Luka Doncic’s 33.7, to go with 1.7 blocks, 1 steal, 4.2 assists, and 9.8 rebounds per game. He anchors the NBA’s fourth-rated defense, while nearly leading the league in scoring. His efforts are herculean on a near-nightly basis. He’s drained two game-winners on this current road trip alone, and the Sixers were so good defensively vs. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, he didn’t need one in that 10-point victory.
Naturally, he’ll probably come off the bench on All-Star weekend. There’s two more days to vote but still.... maybe the Rights to Ricky guys can drum up a late voting rally?
At least it’s beginning to seem likely that Joel, who has a legitimate case that he’s the best player in the entire NBA, and currently ranks third overall in B-Ball Reference’s MVP Tracker, won’t even start for the Eastern Conference All-Star team! That’s how you KNOW — say it with me now — they really #HatetheProcess!
Of course, if Jayson Tatum were guard and forward, and not just forward eligible, like he is for the All-NBA team, this would sort itself out. There would be room for the top five fan vote getters in Giannis, Embiid, Durant, Tatum, and Kyrie Irving. Why is Tatum eligible at guard for All-NBA but not for this one? Slide the man down a position and field the best stars!
Instead, we have this theme beginning to emerge over the course of Embiid’s career. For All-NBA teams, he can miss out on the First Team because nobody votes for him as a forward, a quirk which benefits those primary ball-handlers who fall into more of a hybrid positional category — like Tatum on the First Team All-NBA squad.
And then for the All-Star game, they’re not allowing Tatum to slide in as a guard, so that winds up bumping the apparently-less-popular-outside-of-Philly superstar.
Allow me to whine please. By hook or by crook, somehow, someway, Embiid, who is always in contention for MVP, winds up bounced out of the running for some top five or even top ten player award because of some
popularity ballot/player position quirk.
Embiid missed time and these votes came in already. OK, yes, glad you brought that up. While we’re at it... Kevin Durant has played in 39 games, but after sustaining an MCL sprain, he’s set to miss extended time. Embiid has appeared in 33 games. Joel can only cram in one or two more games before the Jan. 21 voting cut off date. Giannis has appeared in 35. Embiid has probably been better than Freak, and as available. But he’s clearly less popular.
But with another month to go before the actual All-Star Game, Joel may wind up having played in a handful more games than KD; possibly Giannis as well. For voters who’ve already “penalized” Embiid for his availability at the time they submitted, he may wind up having been significantly more available than the dudes they voted for, in part because of, wait for it...availability. (Mind blown emoji).
You missed six more games than I did, but you missed yours after the vote was in! Well played!
Sigh...every time some expert goes on a podcast and explains to us why they think Embiid is the second or third Most Valuable Player but it also makes perfect sense why he’s not on their All-NBA or All-Star squad, yet Bam Adebayo defends fours more so he’s a oh and VORP,... sigh...deep down you feel it...they #HatetheProcess!
By the way, can you imagine a team with Giannis, Joel, Durant, Tatum, and Irving? I think the fan voters may be onto something there. Shame the league isn’t truly crowdsourcing the starting lineups. On the other hand, the fans keep voting for Derrick Rose who’s averaged 5.8 points in 26 games while falling out of the Knicks’ rotation, and they’ve cast more ballots for Austin Reaves than Devin Booker so, I give up.
Embiid is easily one of the five best players in the NBA. Again. Hopefully someone can teach us why it makes sense he won’t even nab one of the ten starting All-Star spots.