Advertisement

Improved reigning MVP Embiid earns his seventh All-Star selection

Improved reigning MVP Embiid earns his seventh All-Star selection originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Joel Embiid is a reigning MVP who’s made substantial improvements to his game.

Everyone in the NBA world can agree that’s worthy of an All-Star spot.

The Sixers’ superstar center was officially selected Thursday night for a seventh consecutive All-Star Game. This year’s game will be on Feb. 18 in Indianapolis at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

In addition to Embiid, the Eastern Conference’s starters are Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Western Conference's starters are Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokic.

The NBA chose its starters by weighting fans’ votes at 50 percent and votes from players and a media panel at 25 percent apiece.

The All-Star reserves, which are selected by head coaches, will be revealed next Thursday. Tyrese Maxey (25.8 points, 6.7 assists per game) has an excellent case to be among them. For East guards, he ranked sixth in fan voting, fourth in media voting and second in player voting.

Embiid has played at an All-Star level in just about every imaginable way. Following his Sixers-record 70-point performance Monday vs. the Spurs, he’s averaged an NBA-leading 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 steals.

With James Harden now a Clipper and Nick Nurse coaching the Sixers, Embiid’s showed off even more offensive variety. Per NBA.com, he’s first in post-up scoring average, second in isolation, third as a roll man and sixth in put-backs.

Embiid is also having his most productive passing season yet and regularly making highlight dishes in both transition and half-court offense.

“I watch a lot of film and just try to see what defenses do,” Embiid said Monday. “What I’m most proud of is double teams, I’ve gotten so much better at handling them, whether it’s passing or just attacking before the double comes. … I think it’s all about — with Drew (Hanlen), my trainer — watching a ton of film. Not just on big guys, but (Michael Jordan), Kobe (Bryant) and all those guys.”

Embiid’s mid-range brilliance has remained central to his dominance.

His 6.9 mid-range attempts per game are third in the league, just behind DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Durant. He’s converted 50.5 percent of his mid-range tries, which is best among the 11 players who have taken over four mid-range shots per contest.

Entering Thursday night, the Sixers were 26-6 this season in Embiid’s appearances and 3-7 without him.

“Can’t take Jo for granted, man,” Maxey said. “What he’s doing right now is special. And he’s not just doing it off layups, not just doing it off threes.

“He can do every single thing. … And the kicker is that on the other end, he’s anchoring the defense as well. He’s not taking any nights off on defense. So we appreciate him, and everybody should appreciate him as well.”