The Philadelphia 76ers had one player that absolutely dominated both sides of the floor in the shortened first week of the 2018-19 NBA season.
This is the first of many installments of the Player of the Week award, which will be coming out every Sunday for the rest of the season. This award will be given to the player that performed above expectation and was a big factor to the team’s success that week. That player had to have played in every game that week to be considered for the award.
With that in mind, the player who has earned this award to begin the season in this shorted week is center Joel Embiid. It should be noted that if Ben Simmons didn’t leave the Philadelphia 76ers last game with back tightness, it’s very likely that he would have been named Player of the Week. Make no mistake that Embiid’s production this past week makes him more than worthy of the accolade.
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In Philadelphia’s lone loss this past week to the Boston Celtics in the season opener, Embiid probably had his worst game, but yet was still able to produce big numbers. Embiid ended the game with 23 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, one steal and five turnovers, while shooting 9-21 from the field, 1-4 shooting from the 3-point line and 4-5 from the free throw line.
If it wasn’t for the physical defense of Celtics centers Al Horford and Aron Baynes, Embiid probably would have had a much more productive outing. Their defense caused the poor shooting performance and turnovers that Embiid had during this particular outing.
In the Sixers home opener and first win of the season against the Chicago Bulls, Embiid bounced back with a strong performance. He had 30 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, four blocks, one steal and two turnovers, while shooting 9-14 from the field, 0-3 from the behind the arc and an amazing 12-14 from the charity stripe.
Neither Wendell Carter Jr., Robin Lopez or Bobby Portis could contain Embiid on the block in the contest. Embiid played a big part in the Sixers blowout victory of 127-108. It should also be noted that Embiid also had the highest plus/minus of the game at plus-26.
In the narrow victory over the Orlando Magic, Embiid had to pick up the extra slack due to the early injury of Simmons. Embiid finished the contest with 32 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, while converting 13-26 of his shots from the floor, 3-6 from downtown and 3-4 from the foul line.
Embiid lead the Sixers in both points and rebounds in the contest. Magic center Nikola Vucevic was able to keep up with Embiid’s offensive output putting up 27 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, but the European center was unable to contain Embiid on the defensive end.
This category is for a player that is a runner up to the Player of the Week. It’s for players that may have not played in every game that week, they have been injured or they may have had a good week just not as good as the player that got the top reward.
This week’s Honorable Mention goes to Ben Simmons. As previously mentioned, if Simmons didn’t get injured early into the last game of the week, then there’s a legit chance that he could have been awarded as Player of the Week. He ended the week averaging 12.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.7 steals.
Embiid came up big for the Philadelphia 76ers in the first week of the regular season. He averaged 28.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 blocks, 0.7 steals and 2.3 turnovers. While inconsistent shooting from the 3-point line and turnovers were a concern for Embiid this past week, his overall dominance helped the Sixers end the week with a 2-1 record.