Well, at least it’s something.
Reserves for the 2023 All-Star Game were released Thursday night, with Joel Embiid being the only Sixer announced as part of the reserve pool for the Eastern Conference.
The Eastern Conference reserve pool for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/CxPNBXMVLY— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 3, 2023
It’s all been said before, but Embiid’s exclusion from the starting five is the perfect case study for why the All-Star game should be positionless. This will be his first of six All-Star appearances where he’s not a starter, and through no fault of his performance. As of Tuesday night’s reserves announcement, the big man is averaging 33.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for the 33-17 Sixers and is second in the MVP ladder behind Nikola Jokic. He is a huge reason, if not THE reason, that the Sixers have battled back into the top three in the Eastern Conference.
One could have very reasonably expected another reserve selection from the Sixers — James Harden. Not to be this year, evidently.
Harden’s role at guard has shifted over the years, now to one as more of playmaker than a dominant scorer, but he has taken it in stride and is putting up career numbers in assists with 11.0 per game. He also averages 21.4 points and 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 39.4 percent from beyond the arc and goes hand-in-hand with Embiid in creating the Sixers’ success.
The Sixers’ duo commented on the All-Star selection process Wednesday night after their victory over the Orlando Magic. Nevertheless, Embiid will be riding solo this time around, which prompted this tweet sent shortly after the reserves were announced:
The Eastern Conference starters will be Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, barring injury. Durant is currently out with a sprained right MCL and will be re-evaluated closer to the All-Star break, according to the Brooklyn Nets. The All-Star Game is set to tip-off Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8:00 PM ET.
In the mean time, Embiid, Harden and the Sixers head to Texas to kick off a three-game road trip, taking on the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.