When the NBA released the starting lineup for the 2016-2017 All-Star game, it was heartbreaking for many Philadelphia 76ers fans when it was announced that Joel Embiid was not a starter, despite finishing third in the fan voting for the Eastern Conference. Had the NBA not made any rule changes to the All-Star voting, allowing players and the media to make up 25% of the vote apiece, Embiid would had been an NBA All-Star starter. Instead, he had to wait nine days to find out if he had made an All-Star reserve spot. After the head coaches placed their vote for the reserves, Embiid fell short behind forward/centers (f/c), Paul George, Kevin Love, and Paul Millsap and has been considered by many to be an “All-Star snub.”

At first glance, Embiid’s numbers are relatively close to all three of the f/c that were selected to the reserves. Despite having the highest field goal percentage of the bunch, his 19.8 points per game average was only higher than Millsap’s 18.0. Both Kevin Love and Paul George averaged over 20 points per game. Embiid’s 7.9 rebounds per games was bested by both Love (11.0) and Millsap (8.1) and Joel’s 2.1 assist per game didn’t fare to well either, ranking third among the f/c reserves. Both Millsap and George are averaging over 3 assists per game whereas Kevin Love is right behind Embiid with 1.9 assists per game. Where Embiid really stood out was on the defensive side of the ball and even though his steals tied with Kevin Love for last, his 2.5 blocks per game, 98.5 defensive rating, and 17.2 player impact estimate (PIE) blows these players out of the water. Paul Millsap is second in blocks per game (1) and defensive rating (100.7) while Love’s 15.8 pie is second. Then remember Embiid is doing all of this while averaging 25.3 minutes per game meanwhile Love, Millsap, and George are all averaging 32 minutes per game.

To put all the players on an even playing field, why not look at the per 48 minutes’ stats, or in other words what the players would average if they all played all 48 minutes an NBA game. This is where Embiid really strives. His 37.7 points per game ranks third in the Eastern Conference behind All-Star guards Isaiah Thomas (40.7) and DeMar DeRozan (37.9). Paul George is ranked 16th in the conference with 30.4 points per game. Embiid is also first in the conference in blocks with 4.69. Millsap is 51st with 1.48. Embiid still finished behind Love in rebounds per 48 minutes but his 14.9 were well ahead of Millsap’s 11.4 and George’s 8.1.

So to sum up Joel Embiid’s numbers, he led the F/C eastern reserves in points per 48 minutes, blocks per game, blocks per 48 minutes, field goal percentage, defensive rating, and pie. He finishes a close second in rebounds per 48 minutes, while finishing third in offensive rating, net rating, assists per 48 minutes, and three-point percentage and steals per 48 minutes. He did not finish last in the group in any important statistical category with the exception to minutes per game. Had the Sixers organization not take a cautious approach with Embiid, forcing him to miss 14 games and only allowing him to play an average of 25.3 minutes per game when he does play, he would without a doubt be an NBA All-Star this year. The numbers were there; the playing time wasn’t.

Photo: Rondo Estrello (via: Wikimedia Commons)

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