The NBA Playoffs are finally here for the Philadelphia 76ers and the goal now is to finally win a championship. They have fallen in the Eastern Conference semifinals in four of the past five seasons as they have yet to go on a deep run during the Joel Embiid era.
There have been plenty of different reasons for that, but the point is, they have come up short and Embiid has played a hand in that.
For Embiid, he is the engine that drives the machine in Philadelphia. There will be no success without his greatness. There are three goals that he needs to accomplish in order for the Sixers to finally reach the mountaintop and they are as follows:
This is the obvious goal. Embiid has to avoid the injury bug this time around to help the Sixers make the run they plan to make. He suffered an injury in the first round of the playoffs in both 2022 and 2021 that hampered him in the semifinals. He was injured heading into the 2018 playoffs and in 2019, he had a left knee issue.
If Embiid is healthy throughout this playoff run, then the Sixers will be in a much better position to seriously contend as their hopes hinge on him being available. He has been recently dealing with calf tightness, but it appears that he is ready to roll this time around.
Find his efficiency
For his career, Embiid shoots 50.1% from the floor in the regular season, but that number drops to 46.8% in the playoffs. He has to be able to find that dominant, efficient play in order to lead the Sixers in the postseason. That means operating from the nail on the offensive end and being able to find his spots on the floor as he does in the regular season.
That also means taking smarter 3-pointers. Embiid is shooting only 29.7% from deep in the postseason for his career. Mostly due to settling for bad looks from beyond the arc and while he can make those shots, he has to be able to play smart basketball on the offensive end.
Get to the free throw line more
Embiid is terrific at drawing fouls in the regular season, but he doesn’t get the same calls in the playoffs that he does during the season. In the 2021-22 season, he averaged 11.8 free throw attempts per game, but that number dropped to 8.9 in the 2022 playoffs. He has to find a way to get to the foul line which helps score easy points and then allows him to find a rhythm on the offensive end to help his efficiency.