For most NBA teams and players, the post-up isn’t an efficient play.
Joel Embiid is a very different case.
As NBC Sports national NBA insider Tom Haberstroh notes in his latest Haberstat (see video above), Embiid has scored 392 post-up points this season. Nikola Jokic has the second-most with 301.
For a little context, Embiid, who scored a career-high 49 points Monday night vs. Atlanta, has 167 more post-up points than the Hawks as a team this year.
Embiid’s combination of post-up volume and effectiveness is highly unique. Despite missing 16 games, he has the most post-up possessions in the league, by a margin of 51. His mark of 1.12 points per possession in the post is best among players with at least 100 post-ups, as is his 28.9 percent free throw frequency. It helps that Embiid is shooting a career-best 82 percent at the foul line and is 38 of 41 (92.7 percent) since he was able to remove the splint from his left hand.
One area of Embiid’s post-up play that jumps out less than his scoring but is still important for the Sixers is his passing and handling of double teams.
Brett Brown knew the Hawks were going to double Embiid aggressively, and he liked how his All-Star center dealt with it.
“I thought the thing that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet that he did as well as anything is he handled the double teams,” Brown said. “Whether he passed out of it because there was a crowd, whether he went quick because the double teams were coming and didn’t even get himself involved in that — I thought he handled the double teams extremely well.”
Though Embiid does have 13 turnovers in the three games since the All-Star break, his turnover frequency on post-ups overall is a career-low 11.5 percent.
He’s managed to be as outstanding as he’s been in the post in spite of the league-wide knowledge that he's the hub of the Sixers' offense.
All stats per NBA.com/Stats.
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