Sixers fans have had the privilege of watching Joel Embiid grow from the skinny kid on draft day to league MVP, but is it fair to say Joel has not yet reached his full potential?
Joel has been dominant over the past three seasons, winning two scoring titles, the league MVP (twice runner-up), and three-time all-star.
That is unbelievable and a level that 99% of players never reach in their careers, but is there another level that Joel Embiid can get?
I believe so, and it is less about his on-court ability and instead about a necessary mentality change for the reigning MVP of the league.
Joel Embiid can score from every level on the court while simultaneously being one of the best rim protectors in the league. He is a generational talent and player, but he has been overshadowed in his career because of the lack of playoff success.
The Sixers are one of the favorites to win the East every year but can only seem to look like real contenders for brief moments of the regular season. For every great performance from the team comes one of the laziest and sloppiest performances you’ll see from any team in the league.
There is no consistent, champion-level intensity throughout the regular season, which kills them in the playoffs. As much as everyone wants to blame coaching, teams take on the character of their best players. This has been a problem with two coaches and a revolving door of teammates throughout the years.
There have been so many games over the years where Joel looks disengaged, with bad body language, and looks completely out of shape. Sometimes, it is because of injuries, but sometimes, it seems like a lack of intensity and competitive spirit. Embiid needs to come into next season in the best shape of his career and bring that intensity on a nightly basis for him to reach his full potential, which will, in turn, lead to better team success.
The Denver Nuggets are a prime example of this, and the mentality change for Jokic happened after years of playoff defeats, just like Embiid and the Sixers have been experiencing. The organization has not built as stable and great of a team as the Nuggets have, but there is no denying that Embiid’s intensity level is just as unstable.
From the few images this summer, Embiid has looked trim and ready to go for this season, so now we can only hope those are much more real than Ben Simmon’s jump videos every summer.