After watching the Raptors manhandle the Sixers in their blowout Game 5 victory, it is becoming clear that Philly has a very glaring flaw: the health of Joel Embiid. When he is on the floor, and feeling good, his dominance cannot be argued — he is the best center in the league during these stretches.
But as this postseason has made obvious, Embiid’s body is not reliable. This series alone, against the Raptors, he has dealt with an aching knee, a gastrointestinal illness, and now (before Game 4) an upper respiratory infection.
And while the Philly big man is no stranger to injury, could his failing health be a result of his own action? In a story by The Ringer, he is not completely blame-free from his mounting injuries.
Some of his health issues are out of his control. But not all of them. Embiid hasn’t kept himself in peak physical condition in the first few years of his NBA career. His diet is legendarily bad: Former 76ers rookie Landry Shamet said that he would pick up four cookies-and-cream milkshakes for Embiid every time they got on a plane on road trips. Embiid is a bona fide celebrity who enjoys the fame and nightlife that comes with being an NBA star. He doesn’t have the same body that he did as a 19-year-old at Kansas. Just look at these highlights: He was getting out in transition and playing above the rim as though he were a 7-foot version of Andrew Wiggins, his NCAA teammate. A player with his frame was always going to fill out as he got older, so he needed to be vigilant about keeping his weight down.
Embiid is enjoying the stardom that comes with being an NBA great. But his high-flying nightlife and dietary habits are taking their toll.
Without Embiid at his best, the Raptors are having their way against Philly. And unless he can shape up and maybe eat a salad or two, that is unlikely to change within the next two games.