Sixers star Joel Embiid has already proven himself as one of the NBA's elites. As a cross between an old school big and a new age center, Embiid is dominant in more ways than one on the basketball floor.
This season, with the Sixers down Ben Simmons, Embiid may be putting on one of his best performances yet as he singlehandedly lifts his team to a state of contention in the East.
Still, when you look at the totality of Joel's career so far, it makes for a pretty wild story. In a recent segment, renowned basketball analyst Bill Simmons broke down the career of the Sixers big man and explained why, in his mind, it's one of the weirdest the NBA has ever seen.
"How does someone reach their potential as a superstar while also giving us a career littered with what-ifs and almosts and holy sh*ts and why-did-that-have-to-happens? And how is almost none of this his fault? How did the NBA's most overpowering player become its most sympathetic figure?
Embiid, in year 8, is having the weirdest career for any modern NBA superstar. Played 786 minutes total his first three seasons and now he's as reliable for 32 minutes a game as anyone in the league. He's played with two All-Stars, one fled after a year and the other won't play at all. He played with three other top three picks: Simmons, Fultz, Okafor. None of them are on the 76ers right now. His best teammate right now is Curry, only it's the wrong one. He's had two coaches, one will never get hired again the other has blown more playoff series and game 7s than anyone ever.
His team's best trade asset can't really be traded unless there's some luck. His team's second-best trade asset is Tobias Harris, only he's too expensive to fetch anything. His best chance for the Finals is the puncher's chance of Brooklyn imploding this spring then Harden bullying his way to Philly...."
At 27-years-old, Embiid has all the makings of an all-timer. His skills, his resume, his electric personality -- it is more than you could ever want in a star.
Sadly, not even Embiid has been able to overcome the mountain of obstacles that have come his way. Injuries, front-office mistakes, playoff buzzer-beaters, and now a star who literally refuses to play.
For as good as Joel Embiid has become, his career has been one of the NBA's great tragedies so far. While there is time for the Sixers to get things right and steer the ship back on course, they really can't afford to make any more mistakes.
Embiid, and his career, have seen enough circumstances.