kurthelin

Will Joel Embiid make the All-Star Game? Sorry Philly fans, but…

15 Comments

Joel Embiid in the All-Star Game would be exactly what this mid-season exhibition should be — entertaining. Fun. There would be dunks, blocks, mugging for the camera, joking around with teammates, and besides nobody plays more than 28 minutes anyway. If this is an exhibition game for the entertainment of the fans, then who embodies that more right now than Embiid?

And he’s probably not going to make the cut.

Sorry, Philly fans.

Those fans — and all the ones that voted worldwide, even Team Zaza from Georgia — voted to make Embiid a starter for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game. However, once the media and player votes were factored in he fell to fourth behind Jimmy Butler (LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were in easily as the other frontcourt players).

If Embiid is to be a rookie All-Star now it falls to the coaches to pick him, they select the reserves (to be announced Thursday). The coaches do vote for three more frontcourt players, plus they have two wild cards spots to hand out. That’s probably not going to be enough. It’s difficult to see Embiid getting the coaches’ votes ahead of guys such as Paul George, Kevin Love, and Paul Millsap (three frontcourt players). There are two wild card spots, but there are so many good guards in the East that group likely soaks up both slots there. That leaves Embiid out in the cold.

It’s difficult to see Embiid getting the coaches’ votes ahead of guys such as Paul George, Kevin Love, and Paul Millsap (three frontcourt players). Is Embiid more fun than those guys? More impactful when on the court? Yes, and arguably yes. But coaches are old-school guys who like reliability, men who pay their dues and earn their spots, and they like subtlety in players’ games. You know, guys like Millsap. There are two wild card spots, but there are so many good guards in the East that group likely soaks up both slots there. That leaves Embiid out in the cold. Zach Lowe of ESPN spoke with executives about Embiid as All-Star and summed it up perfectly.

I’ve been polling team executives on Embiid’s candidacy for the last week, and the response of one Embiid supporter stood out. He lobbied for Embiid over Millsap largely because Embiid would be more fun. Millsap’s game is all subtle positioning, canny passing, and laborious drives to the rim. There is no room for subtlety in the All-Star Game, this person reasoned.

And then he concluded: “I realize that’s not really fair to Paul Millsap.”

The real problem isn’t Embiid’s play, it’s how often he is playing. He’s missed 13 games this season due to rest and injury, and thanks to his minute’s restriction has played just 758 minutes all season. “Not fun” Millsap is at 1,427 minutes in 42 games. Other guys who can make a case for an All-Star slot are Kristaps Porzingis (1,312 minutes in 39 games) and Hassan Whiteside (1,379 minutes in 41 games). Coaches are going to take that into account when voting, this is how they think. Do you really think NBA coach = fun? Maybe Steve Kerr does but after that?

One thing that could happen: The coaches don’t vote Embiid in, but one of the front court players ahead of him suffers a minor injury and decides to sit out the game (this usually happens to a couple players who make the team each season). Adam Silver would name the replacement, and he likely will lean heavily on the fan vote to guide him, which would get Embiid a spot. Just something to watch.

Joel Embiid is going to make a lot of All-Star Games down the line. Hopefully with Ben Simmons, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. What Embiid has shown this season makes him more than the Rookie of the Year, it makes him an obvious franchise cornerstone (if he can stay healthy).

It just doesn’t make him an All-Star. Yet.

 

Korean League All-Stars stop mid-game to do mannequin challenge

4 Comments

This is not something you will see at the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. Unless Joel Embiid makes the cut, then all bets are off.

The mannequin challenge has gone the way of planking and the ice bucket challenge here in America, but don’t tell the Korean Basketball League All-Stars that — they stopped mid-game to do the challenge recently. The KBL knows how to get attention. You can see the video above. It’s the best mannequin challenge I’ve seen in a couple of months. Also, the only one. Because the trend is dead.

Can we just say that set before the shot went up and the challenge started… that was not exactly quick or well executed.

Orlando’s Jodie Meeks out indefinitely following thumb surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After missing the start of the season due to injury, Jodie Meeks had become a regular part of the rotation in Orlando, giving then 8.9 points per game, shooting 40 percent from three, and providing a veteran presence. His role has grown since Evan Fournier went out injured.

Now Meeks is out injured again and it may well cost him the rest of the season. From the Orlando Magic’s web site:

Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks underwent surgery to repair his right thumb this afternoon, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced. He will be out indefinitely and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation. Meeks sustained the injury on January 18 @ New Orleans. After conducting a follow-up exam, it was determined that surgery was the proper course of action.

This likely means more Jeff Green and C.J. Wilcox until Fournier returns.

Meeks is making $6.5 million this season and will be a free agent next summer.

Paul George’s message to Pacers’ fans, “we work harder off of cheers than boos”

Getty Images
7 Comments

The Indiana Pacers are 22-22 and on a three-game losing streak. The team’s defense has fallen from elite in past years to middle of the pack, and the pedestrian offense can’t overcome that. Jeff Teague‘s transition has been anything but smooth. Maybe the biggest issue is consistency — there are nights the Teague/Paul George/Myles Turner combo look like an offensive juggernaut, and nights they have the cohesion of a YMCA pickup game (way too much isolation). The defense likewise varies game to game. If the team gets on a little run of success, they seem to relax and let up.

It’s frustrated fans who thought this team could have home court in the first round of the playoffs, not be fighting to stay in it.

Monday night during a home loss plenty of fans booed. Paul George tried to respond to that speaking to the Indianapolis Star‘s Jim Ayello:

“They pay their money, their hard-earned money to watch us play. They got the right to do whatever they want,” George said after practice Tuesday. “It doesn’t hurt me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. Just know we work harder off of cheers than boos…

“Obviously, I get it,” he said. “The team’s not performing, and we’re not playing well. (But) it’s not like we’re out there not giving our all. We want to win just as much as the fans want us to win.

“It doesn’t help — booing us. We want to come out and play hard. We want to play hard for them. It’s not like we’re just out there to be there. I get it, though. They expect us to be at a high level. I get it. I don’t think booing is the solution.”

Maybe, but the Pacers need to give those fans reason to cheer about. Then do it consistently.

Kevin Hart liked what he saw from suddenly-hot Sixers (VIDEO)

5 Comments

Kevin Hart was sitting courtside for the hottest ticket in Philly right now — the Sixers. He can afford those seats (but probably didn’t have to pay for them, the perks of being Kevin Hart).

And he seemed impressed — he got to watch the Sixers come from 19 back to knock off the shorthanded Clippers.

And, like the rest of us, Hart likes what he has seen from Joel Embiid (who was not playing Tuesday).