1. The majesty of Joel Embiid’s defense
Embiid would be a long shot right now to appear on Defensive Player of the Year or Most Valuable Player ballots.
- Why these Warriors chillingly resemble the pre-Kevin Durant teams that define their dynastyKevin Arnovitz
- How players such as Trae Young and James Harden have adapted to the NBA’s new foul guidelinesBrian Windhorst
- Ben Simmons timeline: A look at a chaotic 2021 for the 76ers and the All-Star guardESPN.com
Like Gobert, Embiid is a one-man defensive architecture – with a more telegenic appetite for gladiatorial confrontation. Opponents are shooting 7.7% worse around the basket when Embiid plays, per Cleaning The Glass.
As has long been the case with the Jazz and Gobert, the Sixers allow fewer 3s and shots at the rim with Embiid on the floor – and many more long 2s. With Gobert and Embiid barricading the rim, other defenders stick to shooters.