Hopefully I’m early enough to the party to be the first to ask the question that a few outside-the-box thinkers were maybe already pondering: do the 76ers even need Joel Embiid?
Okay, I just thought about it a bit (that’s what those question marks were indicating, my deep and detailed thought processes), and my original premise of “they don’t need him because Boban Marjanovic can replace all his production” is seeming kind of flimsy. No need to overreact just because of one game where Boban started, Philly won, and Hassan Whiteside looked like a bitch. Embiid has large amounts of intangibles (and just regular stats) that make him an indispensable part of what the 76ers are trying to do.
To be fair to Boban, he did have a very Embiid-esque statline tonight. 19 points with tons of free throws, 12 rebounds, and 5 turnovers as the starter. He has the same sort of unstoppable bigness that Embiid possesses, where defenders can’t do anything besides foul when he’s near the rim.
76er fans have been fans of him for a long time (remember his breakout game with the Spurs where he torched Jahlil Okafor while Philly fans cheered him on? maybe you guys aren’t the worst fans in the history of the universe), so it’s good to see him in a place where he will be appreciated. Except, you know, he’s one of the most enjoyed players in the league and I don’t think there’s a single fanbase in the whole league who wouldn’t go crazy every time he did one of his no-jump dunks.