Center Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid carry a tattered nugget, 76ers-basketball insider – NBA Sports

It’s officially 2022, but when we talk about the Philadelphia 76ers with the Denver Nuggets, it feels like 1995.

Guard play is everything in the NBA today. Everyone wants to shoot the ball like Stephen Curry. They dream of having a handle like Kyrie Irving. They want Chris Paul’s IQ and Ja Morant’s athletic ability. Imagine having a vision in the range of Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball, or Damian Lillard and Trae Young.

Even before that, it was all about having long and dominant wings like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Janis Adetokumpo. As the game evolved, so did some of the great big names in the league. Some players have adapted and refined their skills better than others, but there are two players who stand out from the others.

Nikola Jokić made a statement last season after winning the regular season MVP award. Denver’s talented center did everything and made it happen every night. There was no load management or reward for playing well. They had to do so much to him and he delivered over and over again.

Joel Embiid has been the league’s most dominant tycoon since Shaquille O’Neal. No one was able to protect the 76ers star with paint, and it doesn’t seem to change anytime soon. Embiid’s only problem was availability, as he has dealt with injuries throughout his career.

Both Denver and Philadelphia had a desire for the championship this season, but things went south in many areas.

Philadelphia’s biggest problem is the story of Ben Simmons, which feels like it’s been going on for years. The team felt his absence, especially at the defensive end of the floor, and during the transition period. Without Simmons, this is at best a .500 team. They were 8-8 without him last season and 7-7 the previous year. For teams that pay luxury taxes, the organization will want to improve this situation as soon as possible. Obviously it wasn’t.

Things in Denver are very different because their absence is more in line with the injury. The Nuggets were considered one of the favorites to win the title before Jamal Murray collapsed towards the end of last season. Their playoff run was very depressing and the biggest concern for this year was Murray’s status this season.

There is no official announcement, but according to league rumors, Murray may be able to get back into action before the postseason begins, but no one knows what he looks like or feels after returning to the floor. Hmm. Another issue is Michael Porter Jr. He has been in the season after having another back surgery. If that wasn’t enough, Denver also lost PJ Dozi during the season.

The idea of ​​”next man” doesn’t always work, especially in Denver, where depth is really tested. Still, there were some bright spots this season in that the guys on the roster stepped up.

Tyrese Maxey and Georges Niang are the two people who certainly answered the Philadelphia bell. Seth Curry and Tobias Harris have also played a lot lately. Outside the west, it was the plays of Will Barton and Monté Morris who tried to take on more responsibility. Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green continue to do dirty work for Denver.

Even if everyone tries to contribute a little more, the responsibility lies with the stars of these teams. Both are playing at MVP level this season and it is necessary for the two to continue the fight. The 76ers are currently loaded 6th in the east and the nugget sits 5th in the west. There’s still a long way to go before the postseason, but what more can these people do?

Embiid is slightly below the average career high score since last season, but both his assist and steal averages are currently the highest in his career. He also shoots 40 percent of his career’s best from a range of 3 points that helped Philadelphia’s spacing. Simmons hasn’t played this season, but Embiid’s usage is actually lower than last year (32.0). The best part for 76ers is that both Embiid’s assist rate and turnover rate are the best in his career.

It’s as great as Embiid this season, but Jokić is better. After averaging a career high of 10.8 rebounds per game last season, the current MVP has blown it off the water, averaging 14.0 this year. Only Rudy Gobert has reduced more rebounds than Jokić, but Denver’s star has the highest PER (32.31) in the league as a whole. In addition, Jokić offers 7 assists per game, which is the 11th best in the NBA this season.

Both of these were drafted the same night, but were chosen on the other side of the 2014 draft. Embiid was 3rd overall and Jokić was 41st overall in the second round. These two big names do much of the same thing, but they have very different playing styles.

Embiid is arguably the least protected player in paint. His main purpose is to control that area of ​​the floor, both offensively and defensively. Jokić may not have the same defensive skill set, but he is very underrated at that end of the floor. His vision and ability to make the right pass from a double team is unrivaled. These people are legitimate three-point threats that are much harder to defend.

As the season progresses, both of these franchises retain a faint light of hope. Assuming they can keep the superstar tycoon healthy, the 76ers and Nuggets need something positive to happen in their missing All-Stars. Regaining their head coach would be a great step in that direction, as both Dock Rivers and Michael Malone were out for health and safety protocols.

For Philadelphia, find a solution at Simmons Previous The February 10 trading deadline is a top priority for Daryl Morey. If Murray can return by the end of the year, Denver’s outlook will be huge. Adding an All-Star to their roster is the best scenario, but it requires some luck.

Neither team wants this to be a wasteful season, especially as both Jokić and Embiid are at the height of their careers. With individual praise, the team’s success hasn’t come yet. With a perfectly healthy roster, both of these teams are candidates for the championship, but this season is far from normal.

– NBA Sports

Center Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid carry a tattered nugget, 76ers-basketball insider Center Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid carry a tattered nugget, 76ers-basketball insider

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