In the 2021-22 NBA season, Joel Embiid was on a mission. The All-Star center did everything in his power to make sure that the Philadelphia 76ers were one of the top contenders to win the 2022 NBA Championship.
In all honesty, he succeeded in doing that up to an extent. Unfortunately, the 76ers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the Miami Heat, and Embiid's journey to the NBA Finals was finished.
But for his efforts during the regular season, most believed that Embiid would be honored by being named the MVP for the 2021-22 season. Nikola Jokic ended up winning that honor as he won the second MVP of his career.
Even after that, fans believed that Embiid would at least get the honor of being named to the All-NBA First Team, but he was snubbed from that. Now, considering the fact that there is only one spot for a center on the first team, it's understandable that Jokic would get the nod before him as he was the league MVP.
It still feels like Embiid was robbed of that honor. Even his Boston Celtics rival, Jayson Tatum, believes that Embiid being in the All-NBA Second Team didn't make much sense. Now, renowned NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith has made the same argument. Smith said Embiid should have been in the first team at the expense of Tatum:
"Did Joel Embiid get snubbed as a first-team All-NBA? Yes, he did. I believe what what he had to endure this year with the nonsense that Ben Simmons created with all of that stuff going on in Philadelphia and then ultimately a James Harden coming into the squad at the expense of Simmons and Seth Curry and Andre Drummond and two first round picks and all the stuff that he had to go through still playing the way that he played, still having the Philadelphia 76ers be the threat that they were. We don’t know what would have happened to the Miami series. Had Joel Embiid not hurt his thumb, A, and B, cracked a bone in his face that ultimately forced him to miss the first two games of that series against the Miami Heat. Who knows what would have happened because we saw what kind of impact he had the next two games that he showed up. So let’s take that into consideration as well."
Smith added, "I believe if there was ever a day to make an exception about two big boys being on the first team together, it would be this one. I think Jokic and Embiid should have been first-team at the expense of Jayson Tatum, who should have been second team All-NBA."
As Smith explained, it feels like a crime not to see Joel Embiid on the All-NBA First Team. His numbers definitely filled the criteria for being selected for the first team.
Hopefully, the league can make some changes in the rules to ensure that players aren't snubbed from making the first team despite having a sensational season.