Thanks to Robert Covington’s deep game-winning three late last night, the Philadelphia 76ers have now won eight of their last ten games in somewhat impressive fashion. This was no small feat for the pretty recently comical franchise, considering they took down Toronto, Denver, Charlotte, Minnesota, and Milwaukee. They very nearly beat the Celtics as well, though that hasn’t meant as much since the useless posting-and-burnt-toasting Knicks took them down this past Wednesday in a real shocker.
But what’s the secret to the 76ers’ newfound success, you ask? Maybe Hakeem Olajuwon’s new frozen yogurt? Probably not. But we do know the history behind 7-foot phenom Joel Embiid’s legendary rookie season. Picked third out of Kansas in the 2014 NBA Draft, “The Process” missed all of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons due to injury before erupting on the scene this year with a 28-minute restriction to keep him healthy. Despite the lack of elite minutes, Embiid has taken off..
Sixers now have a sub-100 DRTG (99.3) when Embiid is on the floor this season. Extraordinary rookie season.
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 16, 2017
Below are some numbers to confirm said dominance, courtesy of CSN Philly..
107.1: The Sixers’ overall defensive rating, tenth best in the NBA.
99.3: The Sixers’ defensive rating with Embiid on the court, first-best in the NBA.
99.7: The Sixers’ overall offensive rating, worst in the NBA.
105.0: The Sixers’ offensive rating with Embiid on the court, 15th best in the NBA.
7.7: Embiid’s block percentage, highest in the entire NBA.
15.4: Embiid’s assist percentage, third-highest on the Sixers (behind their two point guards).
10: Embiid’s current streak of consecutive games with 20 points or more, longer than any Sixer since Iverson.
7: Number of games where Embiid has shot more than ten free throws.
4: Number of games last season where anyone on the Sixers shot more than ten more free throws.
68: Embiid’s (positive) plus-minus for the entire season.
224: The Sixers’ (negative) plus-minus for the entire season.
42.5: Embiid’s defensive FG% at the rim, highest for any center in the league.
28.2: Embiid’s scoring per 36 minutes, seventh best in the NBA.
1: Number of other rookies who have ever scored at that rate before (Wilt Chamberlain).
10: Number of wins the Sixers had all of last year.
12: Number of wins, after last night’s season-highlight win over the Raptors, that they have this year with Embiid in the lineup.
The beginning of this season was a question mark for the once-hopeless 76ers, but loose ends are starting to tighten up as the future of this franchise becomes a tad brighter. While puddle-of-mud former top pick Jahlil Okafor may never amount to anything of use and Nerlens Noel is stuck constantly battling injuries and game-shape issues, Embiid is the true centerpiece this team can rally around.
The rally has evidently already begun.
Cover pic: RKFishman