Sixers Boss Sends Strong Message to ‘Shameless Media’ After Embiid All-Star Snub

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty President of basketball operations Daryl Morey.

For the last two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have fallen short of expectations. No one knows that feeling more so than Joel Embiid, the Sixers’ big man. He’s a two-time MVP runner-up. Never played beyond the second round of the playoffs. Heck, even his jersey number is 21, a reminder that well before he’ll ever be first, he’ll have been second.

But now, Embiid is on the outside looking in on the All-Star starting five. With rosters announced yesterday, Embiid saw his place squeezed out in favor of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Donovan Mitchell.

And after the announcement, Sixers GM Daryl Morey lashed out at one slice of vote makers: the media.

“Completely hosed once again,” Morey said on 97.5 The Fanatic. “This time, to your point, the perpetrators of the crime were the shameless media, who most of them have recused themselves because they don’t want the vote on something that affect players’ paychecks.”

Morey went even further, calling out one fanbase in particular for its culpability in keeping Embiid out of the starting five.

“But the shameless Boston media is way overrepresented. They haven’t recused themselves, and they shoved Joel low enough so that he’s not an All-Star starter. It’s crazy,” Morey finished. 

Never mind that Embiid has spearheaded the Sixers to second in the Eastern Conference, a remarkable 18-5 since December 9. Never mind that Embiid is once again leading the league in scoring per night with 33.4 points per game. And never mind that he’s the focal point of a defense that is tied for sixth in the league, a feat once thought improbable.

In short, Embiid and Morey have every right to be disappointed.

Sixers Admit Shock at Embiid All-Star Snub

Embiid has yet to comment on his All-Star snub, but that hasn’t stopped the rest of his team from stepping up to the microphone in his place.

“It’s crazy,” Tyrese Maxey said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “I guess that’s just how the voting goes, but we all know Joel is Joel. He’s gonna go out there and maybe he’ll use it as motivation to keep killing. I don’t think he needs much motivation for that, but he’s balling right now. So kudos to him.”

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Head coach Doc Rivers announced his own disappointment, though less so at Embiid’s absence and more at the way voting is conducted.

“I think the vote is flawed the way they do it,” Rivers explained. “I’ve said that for 10 years, so I don’t talk about it anymore. I just think it should be the five best guys. It should be positionless. That’s what the league is. So I don’t know what’s taking our league so long to figure that out.”

It was always going to be difficult unseating Giannis, who earned the most votes out of anyone in the Eastern Conference and will be the team’s captain. But others, like Kyrie Irving, raised the eyebrows of several after the votes were announced.

Was Harden Also Snubbed?

Let’s set aside Embiid for the moment (admittedly a big ask) and focus on another Sixer who might have been snubbed from the starting five: James Harden.

Is Kyrie Irving really more deserving of a place among the top five than Harden? Do we not remember the tumultuous-at-best start Irving put the Nets and league through at the start of the season?

It seems as though Harden is being penalized for the Sixers’ slow start and lack of major fireworks. In other words, there’s no real narrative. But as Andre Snellings of ESPN noted, the Sixers’ point guard has a compelling case.

“Irving has played well, but James Harden has played just as well on a 76ers team with a better record that doesn’t have an All Star starter,” Snellings said.

The one factor that might have dinged Harden? Minutes played. After missing several weeks earlier in the season with injury, Harden trails Irving by some 300 minutes played this season.

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