1. Joel Embiid (written by Lucas Johnson)
The reigning MVP is on the Philadelphia 76ers roster and he’s probably had to deal with more turmoil than any other player coming off of an MVP season. Joel Embiid has proven he’s one of the most dominant players and skilled scoring big men in the NBA, so it’s not surprising that he’s number one on this list.
It’s not even close, Embiid is in his prime and should continue to be a top-5 player in the NBA. Could Embiid come into this season and continue to lead the NBA in scoring for a potential third season in a row? Sure, but two seasons in a row, it hasn’t turned into postseason success and with a new head coach in Nick Nurse to guide him, the reigning MVP needs to focus on impacting the game in other ways.
That doesn’t mean that Embiid won’t continue to be a dominant scorer, but it does mean he probably shouldn’t lead the league in that category. Instead, he needs to focus on winning a different award, which is the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
At times, Embiid has proven he can be the best defender in the NBA.
Now the Sixers need him to do it every single night if the team wants a chance to get past the second round. Offensively, the Sixers use Embiid as a facilitator and less of a scorer. If Philly wants Tyrese Maxey to reach his ceiling as an offensive player, he and Embiid will have to develop a similar chemistry that Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have.
However, even if Embiid doesn’t do any of that and stays the same player he currently is, he and the 76ers will still be in pretty good shape.