In light of the news that Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid would miss their game, former NBA center and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins called out Embiid for missing such an important matchup, knowing he was going up against fellow MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
“Joel Embiid is ducking that smoke today, and y’all know how I feel about Joel Embiid,” Perkins said. “He has been on record, we know how much it means to him to win this award. Here it is, you gave Jokic a spanking when they was down there in Philly. You have to give him the opportunity to get his league back. You cannot sit out this game.”
Perkins added that it’s times like these that impact who he votes for regarding who wins awards like MVP because he believes marquee players like Embiid should show up in marquee matchups like Jokic and Giannis Anteotkounmpo.
“When it comes down to these moments and these matchups, I have a vote, and when…I’m looking at the MVP, and who I’m going to pencil in, I’m going to remember this moment. It’s only fair. Jokic showed up to work in Philly. You have to give him his league back. Giannis showed up in Denver. Although they got whooped, he still was available. The series tied 1-1. You have to show up and play this game no matter what if you’re Joel Embiid. Right now, from my eyes, and me hearing it, it seems like he’s ducking the smoke a little bit.”
By missing the game, Embiid will have missed 14 games total this season, which could play a factor in MVP voting.
Monty Williams Calls Out Joel Embiid Following Suns Loss
Embiid put up a solid performance against the Phoenix Suns on March 25, putting up 28 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Sixers to overcome the Suns, losing 120-105.
During his postgame press conference, Suns head coach Monty Williams singled out Embiid not just for how good he has been, but also for the Suns’ ability to contain him.
“I think it was huge for sure because nobody does it better than Jo (Joel Embiid),” Williams said, per the Jump View YouTube channel. “I mean he’s big, he’s mobile, he can draw contact and finish and you have to just move on to the next play.”
Sixers Warned of ‘Unavoidable’ Scenario With Joel Embiid
It’s been rumored since Christmas that James Harden is considering a return to the Houston Rockets. Though no one will know for sure until Harden actually makes his decision, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report warned the Sixers what may come next for them if Harden leaves this summer.
“Rebuilding will be unavoidable if James Harden (player option) leaves over the summer to reunite with the Houston Rockets,” Favale wrote. “The real question: Would Philly be starting over with Joel Embiid, or would he ask for out?”
No matter where the Sixers go should Harden leave, the first of Embiid’s new four-year contract starts next season, so they have until then to decide what the best course of action is.