When Two Mountains Meet: Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns

When Two Mountains Meet: Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns

  Joel Embiid‘s stone face was plastered across ESPN as his name was announced third in the 2014 NBA Draft. The stone face became an instant internet meme, as Embiid’s excitement was halted due to tape delay. The excitement for Philadelphia 76ers fans would be delayed as well, as the moniker-ed “generational big man talent” from Cameroon was set to miss at least one NBA season due to a foot injury that cut his only season at Kansas short. Embiid’s off-court struggles would start with a grueling summer of rehab from the surgery he underwent shortly before the draft. Then-GM Sam Hinkie made it known that ensuring full health was the team’s first priority. Embiid’s rehab continue into the fall where tragedy struck. Arthur Embiid, Joel’s 14-year old brother, was killed in Cameroon. In a moving piece by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, he states that Embiid hadn’t seen Arthur since 2011 and “that grief and guilt” started to spread throughout the embattled big man. He went on to watch the Philadelphia 76ers lose 64 games while sitting on the bench, and showing off his talent through his famous 6-second slow motion through the leg dunk in warm ups. Meanwhile, Embiid was also watching his Kansas teammate and top pick Andrew Wiggins enjoy the type of season he should have had. Wiggins averaged 16.9 points per game and 4.6 rebounds on his way to dominating the Rookie of the Year voting. An award that could have easily been Embiid’s if healthy. Embiid’s name started fade in talks of the best young promising players, and his moniker of a “once in a generation...
The Unspoken Threat in the East

The Unspoken Threat in the East

The Charlotte Hornets have taken the NBA and Eastern Conference by storm (or should I say, by swarm), winning 6 of their first 9. This has been Head Coach’s Steve Clifford 4th year with the team. Last year, the Hornets came back from a poor 33-49 performance in 2014-15, and won 48 games, finishing 6th in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets were badly bit by the injury bug. That they even got to 48 wins was an impressive performance, as key starters Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Al Jefferson (who left Charlotte for Indiana via free agency this offseason) missed a total of 139 games. That’s not even mentioning how many injuries this team had in totality – 35 reported injuries for 11 players. The past few years, the Hornets have built this team on the strength of quickly moving the ball, spacing the floor, and keeping possession of the ball. Steve Clifford has instilled a simple yet effective offensive system. By spreading the floor with pick ‘n rolls along with quick decision making on the perimeter, it has opened up the floor for the shooters on Charlotte. The Hornets rank 1st in turnovers allowed (10.5), 6th in assists per game (25.3) and 7th in three point attempts (29.9) and makes (10.4), they have taken advantage of more possessions efficiently by not turning over the ball and choosing to shoot long range shots. 5 players on the Hornets average 3 or more three point attempts per game, and collectively have a three point percentage of 36.3. Compared to each of the 30 team’s average three point percentage, 36.3 is tied with the...
Harden Embracing the D’Antoni Effect

Harden Embracing the D’Antoni Effect

Somewhere in this country, Kevin McHale is limping around his living room as he used to do on the Rockets’ sideline, wondering how in the world somebody finally got this team to start playing good basketball. Dwight Howard is enjoying his time in Atlanta, but is probably utterly confused as to why he is getting along with his coaches and teammates- something that has grown to be a foreign concept for the 6’ 11” big man with more back problems than my grandfather and Tony Romo combined. Ever since the Rockets were able to come back from a 3-1 series defecit in the 2015 Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, only to be embarrassed by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets have been a living and walking synonym of the word “mediocre”. This left many Houston fans spending the majority of last season saying the words, “its still early” until there were single-digit games left in the regular season and the Rockets were fighting for an 8-seed, or as I liked to call it: the team that Golden State gets to embarrass first. The Rockets went on to secure that 8-seed and lost in five games to the Warriors, with their only win coming at home in a one-point nail biter against a Curry-less Warriors team. Bravo, Rockets. During the Rockets offseason, after learning that the grass is green and Roger Goodell sucks, we also were informed that there was quite a rift between James Harden and Dwight Howard within the Rockets locker room, leading to the departure of the prima donna. The Rockets...