All-NBA centers last season:
- First team: Anthony Davis (Lakers)
- Second team: Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
- Third team: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
“I agree that Anthony Davis had a better season than me,” Embiid says. “[Nikola] Jokic? That’s debatable. But Rudy Gobert? No offense, but he [averaged] 15 [points] and 13 [rebounds] and I had my 23 and 12, and that’s kind of a big difference. I think my numbers were better. But people didn’t want to vote for me because our team didn’t do well.
“That’s OK, because I will use it to motivate me so there is no chance that anyone can make that mistake again.”
Gobert played 55% more minutes more than Embiid last season. That matters.
Embiid is more talented. I’d call him the better player. But he didn’t show it throughout last season. To me, All-NBA is about who has the best regular season by total contribution to his team. In far less playing time, Embiid just didn’t match Gobert.
It seemed Embiid might have been saving himself for the playoffs. If so, that backfired. Philadelphia never clicked and, with Ben Simmons injured, got swept in the first round.
Maybe Embiid will use this perceived snub as motivation. That’d be more effective not as a personal grudge toward Gobert, but as a reason to play with more consistent excellence against everyone.
Of course, Embiid’s comments could also motivate Gobert, who’s becoming accustomed to getting slighted.