We interrupt your NBA free agent frenzy readings to give you a little Joel Embiid action. Who doesn’t love the social media master, right? The Philadelphia 76ers star is coming off of a monster season, as he averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. The Sixers also had a great season, going 50-32, and reaching the second round of the playoffs. So, what’s next?
Well when asked by TMZ Sports, Embiid said that winning the MVP was his next goal:
Embiid added that he’ll take the trophy “everywhere” if he manages to win MVP.
Proclamations are great and dandy, but here are three things Embiid needs to improve on if he really wants to take the next step:
- Become a better passer – Joel averaged a paltry 3.2 assists per game last year, which got even worse in the playoffs, going down to 3.0. That is pretty low, considering how many double teams he draws in the post. The number is a little skewed because of the lack of shooters surrounding Embiid, but he still needs to get his assists to the five range if he wants to reach MVP-levels.
- Reduce Turnovers – Embiid averaged 3.7 turnovers per game during the regular season – 6th most in the league – and 3.6 per in the playoffs. His usage percentage is high, so of course turnovers are going to happen, but he has been too loose with the ball and it cost them in the playoffs.
- Conditioning – Embiid himself mentioned stamina as something he is going to focus on, which is a great start.
He looked sluggish and a step slow at the end of games in that Boston Celtics series, so it is time to put in work this off-season, which should payoff come playoff time.
By all accounts, Embiid had a terrific season. He made his first All-Star game appearance, the All-NBA second team, and finished 12th in MVP voting. That being said, he still has some ways to go if he wants to win MVP. But, Embiid has been working hard on his game this summer with trainer Drew Hanlen, which should provide immediate results. If he can make the jump, the sky is the limit for the Sixers, with or without LeBron James.
Embiid is the MVP of trash talking though, so enjoy this video of him welcoming Mo Bamba to the league before you go: