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January 27, 2017

Sixers' McConnell is right. It's 'absolute crap' that Embiid didn't make all-star team

Sixers NBA

Joel Embiid will not be on the court when the NBA All-Star Game tips off next month in New Orleans. He won't be on the bench either. 

That's because current NBA coaches, in charge of voting on the all-star reserves, left the Philadelphia 76ers rookie off their list when the full rosters were announced on Thursday night. Despite Embiid (19.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.5 BPG) finishing third in fan voting -- any other year that would've been enough to earn him not just a spot on the Eastern Conference's roster, but a starting spot -- he will have to settle for a spot in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.

Needless to say, that didn't sit well with Sixers fans. But it also didn't seem to sit very well with Embiid's teammates.

Here's more from McConnell, who was snubbed himself this week when the second-year point guard was left out of the Rising Star Challenge (via CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato):

“If people don’t already know it, he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with,” McConnell said. “He’s positive every day. Even on games when he’s frustrated because he’s not able to play because it’s a back to back, he’s there cheering on his team and being encouraging in the locker room. People don’t see that behind closed doors. Like I said before, I think it’s absolutely absurd the amount of minutes that he plays and the damage that he does, there’s not another player that’s even close to that. I think the proof is right there.”  []

PhillyMag's Derek Bodner, who likely lost his "Godner" status after defending (explaining?) what Sixers fans view as a huge snub, rightly pointed out that no matter what fans think, Embiid's lack of minutes definitely matter to NBA coaches. Furthermore, three of 14 Eastern Conference coaches have yet to face Embiid; and only four of those remaining 11 have seen him live for more than 30 minutes.

Coaches tend to value veterans over rookies, guys who have proven their ability over a longer track record than the exciting young phenom. That doesn’t make it necessarily right, but it does make it somewhat expected.

Perhaps more importantly, coaches are more likely to factor in the number of games a player has played, and how their presence (or absence) has impacted the team.  []

As for Embiid, the 22-year-old center said he felt like he 'deserved it,' and thought that his minutes restriction should help -- not hurt, as it seems was the case -- his all-star resume.

Because of the 28-minutes-per-game cap placed on Embiid, some have preferred to examine the rookie's numbers per 36 minutes or 100 possessions. And while we've done that here at PhillyVoice before, ESPN Stats & Info put some of those numbers into a historical context on Friday.

Based on the small sample size we have, not only should Embiid be playing (and starting) in the all-star game, but they should be preparing a bust for display in Springfield.

And while, at least to some extent, I understand the argument against Embiid as an all-star -- not playing the second night of back-to-backs is a huge advantage health-wise that doesn't impact any per-game or even per-36 stats -- it falls short of being reason enough to keep him out.

If the point of this game is to have your best players on display, then Embiid should be there. The numbers don't lie.

If it's to put forward the most entertaining product possible, Embiid should be out there. 

If it's about giving the people what they want, again, Embiid should be out there.

Oh, and if all those numbers and stats aren't your thing, you can always go with the eye-test:

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin