Embiid the All Star: Because There’s No Bad Time to Remind Everyone That Hinkie was Right

 Despite the NBA players hating on Joel Embiid’s shine and trying to keep him out of the All Star game by voting for Kristaps Porzingis, we got our guy to LA.  We had the big fella’s back when it came to votes and Philly, we have a star again. Now, technically Jrue Holiday was an All-Star and we watched Andre Igoudala get blatantly robbed at the dunk contest, but Joel “The Process” Embiid is the first transcendent basketball talent this city has season since Allen Iverson. His selection as not only an All-Star, but an All-Star game starter in only his second season truly playing in the NBA, is yet more validation that Hinkie’s strategy was the right move.
 First and foremost, fuck Kristaps Porzingis. He probably should’ve been a Sixer if his agent wasn’t a prick about it but there we were, stuck with Jahlil Okafor. It’s pretty evident that Porzingis and the Sixers would be better off with one another but we can play the shoulda, coulda, woulda game with the draft forever. Even so, the “unicorn”, which is not even a good nickname, is reaching Russell Westbrook overhyped levels. Clearly as a process trustee, I am biased, but Embiid and Porzingis aren’t even in the same stratosphere as far as impact on a game goes. The NBA players only voted for Kristaps because he’s less of a threat. Embiid and his presence both on and off the court, have made him an immediate A-List celebrity less than 70 games into his career. There’s a lot of guys out there who have played a lot more and will never reach that status or skill level of Embiid. You know what they say, jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.
Now, when Embiid became an All-Star, I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t even know they were making the announcement. Since the NFL playoffs began, I’ve focused my entire rooting efforts on getting Nick Foles and the Eagles to the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia 76ers constantly blowing 2nd half leads just drains too much of my energy and I can’t handle both teams at once. While I was taking my hiatus from the roller coaster ride that is Sixers basketball, THE JANUARY SIXERS CAME BACK BETTER THAN EVER. They haven’t even lost in this country yet this month so I’m smelling a nice playoff push from here until February to get this thing back on track. The best part about this hot stretch is that is showcased the value of the All Star, Embiid. Between January’s hot streak and December’s cold streak, only one thing has changed. It’s the same players, similar rotations, same depressing Markelle Fultz shooting videos, the only thing that has changed is Joel’s health. We’ve all seen the astronomical +/- numbers Embiid has, but watching it live is truly unbelievable. This team would be right back in the thick of the conversation for best odds in the lottery without the All Star Center but they currently sit in the playoffs now that he’s back and healthy.
 While Porzingis may be called the unicorn, Embiid’s game is the one you could only dream of in folk lore. A team that turns the ball over as much as the Sixers and who struggles late games as much as the Sixers, has no business being THIS good defensively. But, with Embiid, his skill set can cover up many weaknesses or liabilities. It’s quite similar to what Carson Wentz can do to cover up missed assignments by the offensive line with his escapability.
 The best part about all this, aside from the fact basketball at the Wells Fargo Center is relevant again, is that Embiid is the first one from his draft class to make an All Star Game. Hinkie was right. He was always right, no matter how many doubters there were/are. Regardless of what happens with Markelle Fultz and the most astonishing case of the yips the NBA has seen, the Sixers are still set up with two cornerstone players with two of the most unique skill sets in the basketball world. My biggest fear at this point is not whether or not the Sixers make the playoffs this year. It’s whether or not Bryan Colangelo can take this team to the next step with the foundation Hinkie provided him. We mentioned the deficiencies Embiid can cover up on the court, but he’s also covering up for deficiencies in the front office too.
 One last thing: An Eagles Super Bowl would obviously be the greatest triumph sports fans in this city could ever see. But, if Joel Embiid struts out on the court in LA, cans a three early in the All Star game and stares down Rihanna sitting courtside, that could very well be the next best thing.
By Aidan Powers | January 20, 2018