Anthony Davis

Sixers center Joel Embiid misses out on Defensive Player of the Year

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Sixers center Joel Embiid misses out on Defensive Player of the Year

Joel Embiid will likely continue to say he’s the best defensive player in the league. However, he’ll have to wait another season for the trophy to back it up.

Embiid failed to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday night.  Jazz center Rudy Gobert took home the hardware over Embiid and Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis.

Embiid placed second in the voting. He garnered two of 101 possible first-place votes, 44 second-place votes and 21 third-place votes for a total of 163 points. That was well behind Gobert's 466 total points.

Embiid finished in the NBA’s top 10 in blocks (tied for fifth with 1.8 a game) and defensive rebounds (sixth with 8.7 per night). He also boasted a 99.7 defensive rating as the Sixers allowed roughly four fewer points with Embiid on the court than off.

“… I should be the Defensive Player of the Year because I feel like all year long we’ve done it,” Embiid said in April. “My teammates have helped me a lot and I’m in this situation because of them. I give them a lot of credit. But I still feel like I’ve been the best defensive player in the league this year. Last year, I kind of had the knock on me of not playing a lot of games, but this year I’ve played a lot of games, so I don’t know what excuse they’re going to find next.”

However, both Gobert and Davis put together stellar defensive seasons and were each named to the league’s All-Defensive first team. Embiid made the second team, which should have served as a precursor for the DPOY voting.

The big fella will now have to wait another season for his crack to become the first Sixer to win Defensive Player of the Year since Dikembe Mutombo in 2000-01.

Still, the night wasn't a complete loss for Embiid. He was unveiled as the cover athlete for NBA LIVE 19 The ONE Edition video game.


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NBA Awards 2018: Previewing Ben Simmons', Joel Embiid's chances, show start time, how to watch

NBA Awards 2018: Previewing Ben Simmons', Joel Embiid's chances, show start time, how to watch

All of Ben Simmons’ virtuoso passing, all of Joel Embiid’s vicious blocks and yes, all the petty sweatshirts have led to this moment.

The NBA Awards Show is tonight. Here’s everything you need to know as a Sixers fan.

What time does the show start?

The Awards Show, which will take place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, will begin at 9 p.m. on TNT. The votes of the media members who decide the awards are already in — this is just the grand unveiling.

Which awards will be announced?

MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year. All-NBAAll-Defensive and All-Rookie teams have already been announced. 

Which Sixers are nominated? Who’s their competition?

Simmons is one of three nominees for Rookie of the Year, along with Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum. Embiid is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert are his competition for the award.

They’re not going to snub Simmons, right?

We’ve already covered many of the reasons Simmons should win here — he has a very strong case.

But the Sixers don’t have a great recent history with this award. Last year, Malcolm Brogdon beat out Embiid and Dario Saric to claim the honor, and Sixers fans are probably never going to forgive him for it.

Still, it would be a real surprise if Simmons didn’t win. Outside of scoring, he holds the advantage over Mitchell in just about every statistical category you could imagine — rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, net rating, win shares, PER, etc. He also led his team to a 52-win season as a rookie point guard and had 12 regular-season triple-doubles, the second-most ever by a rookie.

In most other years, Mitchell, who averaged 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, would be the clear winner, but Simmons should definitely have the edge over him.

Though Jayson Tatum was incredible in the playoffs, this is a regular season award, so he shouldn’t be a factor.

What are Embiid’s chances?

Well, Embiid has already shared his thoughts on the awards (see story). On Apr. 11, he had this to say:

It is what is, [the media] has a lot of say in it, but I think [Brett Brown] should be the Coach of the Year, Ben should be Rookie of the Year, and I should be the Defensive Player of the Year because I feel like all year long we’ve done it. My teammates have helped me a lot and I’m in this situation because of them. I give them a lot of credit. But I still feel like I’ve been the best defensive player in the league this year. Last year, I kind of had the knock on me of not playing a lot of games, but this year I’ve played a lot of games, so I don’t know what excuse they’re going to find next.

While Brown wasn’t nominated for Coach of the Year (Dwayne Casey, Quin Snyder and Brad Stevens are the finalists), Embiid does have a chance at Defensive Player of the Year. Unlike Simmons, however, he's not the clear favorite.

It’s not a great sign for Embiid that Gobert and Davis both made the NBA All-Defensive Team, while he did not.

Each player has a solid case. Davis led the leagues in blocks by a wide margin, with 183. Gobert has the advantage over both in defensive rating, defensive box plus-minus and defensive real plus-minus, and he anchored the team with the second-best defensive rating in the NBA. With Embiid on the floor, the Sixers allowed about four fewer points per 100 possessions than when he was out.

Ironically, if Embiid wins, one of the reasons might be that Gobert didn’t play enough games. Gobert only played in 56 regular-season games, missing significant time because of a left knee injury. Embiid played in 63 regular-season games.

When’s the last time a Sixer won Rookie of the Year? Defensive Player of the Year?

Michael Carter-Williams was the last Rookie of the Year for the Sixers, in 2013-14. Dikembe Mutombo won Defensive Player of the Year in 2001.

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Joel Embiid shows support for Sixers, himself with awards rant

Joel Embiid shows support for Sixers, himself with awards rant

Joel Embiid hadn’t talked to the media for awhile. He had a lot to get off his chest.

Wearing a black mask after working out before the Sixers’ regular-season finale against the Bucks, Embiid answered questions about his health heading into the postseason. He said it’s “unlikely” he’ll play in Game 1 of the first round (see story).

He also shared his seemingly unfiltered thoughts on a number of other topics, ranging from why he thinks Ben Simmons should be the Rookie of the Year, to why he should win Defensive Player of the Year.

Embiid’s mini-rant started with a question about his take on the Rookie of the Year race.

“Honestly, first of all, I think what they’ve got going on is pretty funny,” Embiid said of the tension between Ben Simmons and Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell (see story).

“A lot of people might have a different definition of what’s a rookie … it happened with me last year, there was a lot of talk about whether I was a rookie or not.”

But Embiid clearly wasn’t persuaded by Mitchell’s sweatshirt and its apparent argument that Simmons, who missed last season with a right foot fracture, somehow has an unfair advantage.

“I remember when I was out, I didn’t get to practice, I didn’t get to be with the team as much, didn’t really get to work out,” he said.

“Ben is the clear-cut guy for that award.”

For the record, Mitchell is averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, while Simmons is posting 15.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. Simmons has averaged a triple-double during the Sixers’ 15-game winning streak.

Next, Embiid was simply asked if there was anything else he wanted to talk about. Yes … yes, he did.

“I feel like starting with Coach [Brett Brown] taking the team, last year we won [28] games, people don’t really put him up there for Coach of the Year,” Embiid said. “I think it’s absurd. I think he’s amazing.”

He then seamlessly transitioned into an argument for his own Defensive Player of the Year candidacy.

“It is what is, [the media] has a lot of say in it, but I think he should be the Coach of the Year, Ben should be Rookie of the Year, and I should be the Defensive Player of the Year because I feel like all year long we’ve done it,” Embiid said. “My teammates have helped me a lot and I’m in this situation because of them. I give them a lot of credit. But I still feel like I’ve been the best defensive player in the league this year.

“Last year, I kind of had the knock on me of not playing a lot of games, but this year I’ve played a lot of games, so I don’t know what excuse they’re going to find next.”

Anything else Embiid wanted to air out? Of course.

“I think we got a pretty good chance,” he continued. “At the end of the day, it’s all about winning, and that’s what we did this year, getting to the playoffs and next year … and what else? I should be first-team All-NBA, too. I think I’ve been the best center in the league and I’ve proved it.

“I’ve seen a lot of people put Anthony Davis, but I think he’s a four. He’s had a great season and I have a lot of respect for Anthony Davis, but I think he’s a forward. But I’m glad this season’s about to be over. We got one game more, and now we got our sights on the playoffs.”