Philadelphia 76ers: 3 reasons to avoid midseason panic

Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Joel Embiid!

The Sixers still have Joel Embiid. That’s enough to maintain optimism. Embiid is a top-10 player, full stop, no questions asked. He’s the single most physically imposing big man in basketball, depending on how you classify Giannis. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, a nightly 30-point threat, and an all-world rebounder.

With Embiid in the middle, the Sixers will remain a competitive fixture in the Eastern Conference. Even with an ill-fitted roster all around, Embiid has managed to put together a respectable season — and his numbers are trending in the right direction.

Over his last 10 games, Embiid is averaging 27.0 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks per contest. He’s slashing .506/.378/.888 over that span, converting efficiently at the rim, upping his assist rate, and attempting a smooth 4.5 threes per game.

He’s really good, and even in a season dedicated to preservation and longer-term goals, he has found the willpower to recommit and reassert himself as a league elite. As long as Embiid maintains his dominance and is delivered to the postseason in full health, Philadelphia has a shot. A real, legitimate shot.