Philadelphia 76ers guard TJ McConnell is Joel Embiid’s “Mini Me”

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Joel Embiid
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Joel Embiid /
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Each year, the Philadelphia 76ers raise the bar on T.J. McConnell, and each year he earns valuable playing time. The explanation? He is Joel Embiid‘s “Mini Me”

Point guard T.J. McConnell is not new to the Philadelphia 76ers. In fact, he is the embodiment of what is right with the team. If you are one of the Philadelphia 76ers who never noticed the fiery undrafted point guard from the University of Arizona, you are not alone. We noticed years ago, and have lauded the young man since his arrival.

He never fails to exceed expectations.

The problem with that is that expectations have never risen that much.  Here is a young man who was arguably the best point guard to enter the NBA in 2015, but he has never been recognized because he arrived undrafted.

Always ready

He shows up to play every game, and he usually does. Entering his third season, this young man has missed just two games.  Of the 170 games played, he has started just 68. He has only JUST developed a three-point shot (still under construction) and only last year began to hit buzzer beaters.

So what does he do right? Well, he is the “Charlie Hustle” of the NBA, folks. He works and works and works and works, and then he works some more. That means nothing if it simply is unfocused energy. But his is a very focused effort. T.J. McConnell is a defensive disciple, a stick-to-his-player-like-a-shadow type of defender.