"I'm Back" - Michael Jordan" - NBA MVP Joel Embiid
Usually around this time of year we are about to get the worst version of Joel Embiid that we've seen in months. He'll be coming off an injury he suffered from the first round of the playoffs. He'll have just been snubbed in the MVP voting. Chances are the Sixers will have already found themselves in a hole in the series. He'll be in the lineup for the next game and you see him clearly pouting around out there.
THERE'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN THE AIR THIS YEAR.
Because, sure, Joel Embiid suffered another injury in the playoffs. But the Sixers went into Boston without him in the lineup and stole game 1. And for the first time in his career, Joel Embiid was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA last night.
He's fired up about the game 1 win. He's rejuvenated after finally winning the MVP. And now Joel Embiid can solely focus on getting the job done and getting the Sixers back to the Finals for the first time since 2001.
There's a chance this is the most dialed in version of Embiid we ever get to witness. For as much of a superstar as he is, and for as much as he's matured over the years, Joel Embiid is still ridiculously emotional out there. There's a massive difference in his game when you can see he's clearly motivated to win, and when he has other shit on his mind. Now that he has that MVP monkey off his back and now that he doesn't feel like he needs to completely take over a game to steal a win for the Sixers? He gets to just do what he does best. And that's be an unstoppable menace on both ends of the floor.
Obviously nothing set in stone right now, and I don't even think that Embiid sitting out game 2 would be the worst thing to ever happen. But if tonight is the night he comes back? I just hope the Celtics bring their proper dancing shoes.