The Philadelphia 76ers currently reside in first place in the Eastern Conference. At just half a game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, the Sixers are doing everything they can to secure the number one seed for the playoff race.
Joel Embiid has been a monster this season, to say the least. Currently, he is averaging 30.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks on the year for the Sixers. Embiid is making a case to be regarded as the best center in the NBA. Due to his injury history, however, Sixers fans wince anytime their superstar center plays through an injury. According to Derek Bodner, Embiid plans to push through the rest of the year to help Philadelphia clinch the one seed for the postseason.
Embiid says he plans on playing tomorrow in Milwaukee.
He then went on to say "Even tonight, I wasn't supposed to play"
"We got a bunch of guys out. It's my job, just go out and be a leader, just push every night. I can't rest, even if I'm hurt."
"That #1 seed is important."
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) April 22, 2021
Toughness, grit, determination, leadership. Those are the four words that best describe Joel Embiid’s mentality during the final stretch of the season. However, the best-case scenario for the Sixers would be to pull away from the Nets and clinch first place in the Eastern Conference as soon as possible. Clinching the one seed is the goal, but potentially losing Embiid in the playoffs would be detrimental to this team’s chances of winning a championship.
Playing Embiid is similar to the double-edged sword analogy. On one hand, they need him if they plan on clinching the first seed in the playoffs, but on the other, they likely won’t finish in first place if they rest him. There is the risk for injury for every player, but it’s up in the air if Embiid can handle another serious grievance.
It’s likely in his best interest to sit out the Sixers’ next game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Good luck telling Joel Embiid that.