Joel Embiid

Why Joel Embiid is denying he’s declared for the NBA draft

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Adrian Wojnarowski, a credible journalist, reported earlier today Joel Embiid would declare for the NBA draft.

On Twitter, Embiid is telling a different story:

There are two possibilities:

1. Embiid truly hasn’t made up his mind, and Wojnarowski’s report is wrong.

2. Embiid has made up his mind but is protecting himself.

In an effort to aid millionaire coaches at the expense of the athletes the organization feigns to protect, the NCAA has instituted an earlier deadline to withdraw for the draft than the NBA has in place.

Underclassmen must withdraw from the draft before April 16 to remain eligible for the NCAA. But if they never declare in the first place, they can always turn pro before the NBA deadline of April 27 – because if players decide to go pro between April 16 and April 27, they don’t need to preserve their NCAA eligibility anyway.

For someone like Embiid, whose back injury plays a key factor in his draft stock, the buffer period could be essential. In case his injury worsens and he wants to return to Kansas, he’d give himself more leeway by waiting to officially declare.

Embiid might not, and probably won’t stretch the decision all the way to April 27. If he hires an agent, who can guide him through this process and/or front him money, Embiid would no longer be eligible for college basketball.

But until he hires an agent, why officially declare?

76ers increase Joel Embiid’s minute limit to 28

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, tries to get around Cleveland Cavaliers' DeAndre Liggins, center, and Kevin Love during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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Take comfort, chairs and staffers.

The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.

Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.

The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.

This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.

James Johnson dunks on Rudy Gobert in crunch time (video)

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Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.

But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.

Nicolas Batum bounces assist through Dwight Powell’s legs (video)

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The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.

Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson floors Malcolm Brogdon with crossover (video)

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To be fair, Malcolm Brogdon was already off-balance before Rondae Hollis-Jefferson began his crossover.

To be real, DID YOU SEE BROGDON FALL OVER?