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#pounditSaturday, February 24, 2024

Opposing NBA player reacts to Joel Embiid All-Star news

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The starters for this season’s NBA All-Star Game were revealed on Thursday, and many could not believe that Joel Embiid was not part of the group.

The Philadelphia 76ers big man was edged out in the East, where the starters will be Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain), Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum.

Embiid did not make it despite averaging 33.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season.

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma was stunned by the development.

“Ngl .@JoelEmbiid not starting is nuts,” Kuzma wrote.

“Ngl” is an acronym for “not gonna lie.”

He’s not alone; many people were stunned that an MVP contender didn’t even make it as an All-Star starter.

How could that be? It all has to do with the structure of the voting.

In 2012-2013, the NBA got rid of specific positions for voting and organized players as “guard” and “frontcourt.” This more encompassing categorization was made because the traditional center was being phased out of the game, so it didn’t make a ton of sense to force a traditional center onto the All-Star team if they weren’t deserved. Had there still been a center designation, Embiid would have made it.

But then Embiid got edged out in the other regard. The four most deserving All-Stars in the East are Antetokounmpo, Tatum, Embiid and Durant, who are all frontcourt players. So Embiid got squeezed out in the frontcourt for the East and ended up not making it as a starter.

What hurt Embiid was being fourth in the fan vote, which comprises 50 percent of the weight in determining the All-Stars. Media and player rankings, where Embiid was third, each comprise 25 percent.

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