Philadelphia, PA - When you watch the Philadelphia 76ers in action, it seems to be a constant stream of Joel Embiid this, Joel Embiid that as he dominates the floor from basket to basket. Most teams do have a standout star on their roster, but with the 76ers, you have to ask, is Philly too reliant on Embiid?
Just how good is Joel Embiid?
Before we get into the details as to whether or not the 76ers are too reliant on Embiid or not, we thought it would make sense to start off with a look at just how good the player in question is. For us, he's amongst the very best players in the entire league. His stats from the most recent season back that up as well.
It's not a surprise that year after year, he is placed as a favorite from the beginning to be the season's MVP, as you can check here: https://www.bovada.lv/sports/basketball/nba
Focusing on the center position during the regular season, Embiid had the highest average points per game with 30.6; that's 13% more than the next highest – which is Nikola Jokic. It's not just sinking points where the Kansas graduate impresses, though; Jokic excels in the assists category with 7.9 per game, but Embiid posted the next best number, albeit his 4.2 per game is someway south of Jokic.
Embiid is also a dominant force where rebounding and steals are concerned as well, having an average of 11.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per match; both are stats that are good for fourth of all centers. His blocking stat of 1.5 per game also puts him in the top 10. All in all, Embiid is unquestionably an elite center – even if he is perhaps a little short of being the number one in the league.
How Does Embiid Compare To Other 76ers?
Right, we've looked at where Embiid ranks amongst his NBA peers. Really though, we're discussing the importance Embiid has on the 76ers, so how do the Philadelphia supporting cast measure up? The answer is not particularly well.
Embiid Is The Leader In Three Key Stats
Embiid's 30.6 points per game is miles ahead of the next biggest scoring contributor, which happens to be mid-season trade James Harden. Harden weighed in with 21.0 ppg; that means Embiid is shooting around 46% more points than the number two. Embiid's conversion rate is much stronger, too, at 49.9% from the field and 37.1% from behind the arc; Harden's percentages are 40.2% and 32.6%, respectively.
Unfortunately, it's not just pointing where Embiid is the 76er's star man. He also dominates where rebounds are concerned. Andre Drummond, who is no longer on the 76ers roster, was the second-best rebounder with 8.8 per game, but Harden's arrival largely offset that, with his season average being the next best on Philly's roster. Even so, Embiid's 11.7 per game still puts him miles ahead of both of those two – especially in a defensive sense.
The other area where Embiid leads the way for the 76ers is in blocks. Embiid put up 1.5 blocks per game in 2021/22. Matisse Thybulle was next in the rankings there with 1.1. That doesn't sound horrendous on first viewing, but over the course of an 82-game regular season, that means Embiid would make 123 steals compared to Thybulle making just 90 – that puts Embiid at 36% ahead of his next nearest contributing teammate.
Embiid Doesn't Dominate Every Stat
You're probably starting to get the message that Embiid is a vital cog in this 76ers team. That is undeniable. It doesn't, however, mean that he leads the way in every statistical category.
The aforementioned Thybulle leads the way in steals with 1.7 per game, whereas Embiid has just 1.1; in the interest of being consistent, that means that you would expect Thybulle to make 55% more steals over the course of a season. What is also noteworthy on steals is that Embiid's 1.1 isn't good for second place in the 76ers ranks; Harden also outperforms him here, albeit narrowly.
The other key area to consider is assists. Now we've already given Embiid the 'big up' for scoring the most points, but someone has to create those shooting opportunities for him, and, luckily for Embiid, he has a couple of people feeding him. Point Guard Tyrese Maxey, who joined the 76ers in the 2020 draft, averages 4.3 assists per game, which is 0.1 more than Embiid, but the real hero of the show is Harden. Harden put up a regular-season average – which includes some time with the Nets – of a whopping 10.5 per game – only Chris Paul averaged more across the entire NBA!
So, What's The Verdict?
Right, we've now taken a look at all things Embiid, so are the 76ers too reliant on him? In reality, the answer is probably yes – and they certainly can't afford to lose him. What we would stress, though, is that they're not a one-man team. Other players contribute to this roster, and if they can increase their output a fraction more than the 76ers will have every chance next season.