Let me be the first to say that I love Joel Embiid. Joel Embiid has single handedly changed the landscape of Philadelphia hoops for the next 15 years. Since he first stepped foot on the court, attendance numbers are up at The Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers have become a relevant talking point in The City of Brotherly Love, and media members both locally and nationally cannot get enough of the young Sixers. As a season ticket holder, I have witnessed the “Oos” and “Ahhs” that occur every time Embiid touches the ball. Chants of “Trust the Process” rain down on the court as he approaches the free throw line. Embiid has captivated this city in ways that have not been done since Allen Iverson wore the red, white, and blue.
As a fan base, we are beginning to expect an “Embiid” type of performance out of all the players on the roster. However, averaging 19.2 points per game and snagging 7.3 boards as well is not common for your everyday role players. Embiid is performing at an all-star pace and is showing no signs of slowing down. Fans everywhere are beginning to develop a “tunnel vision” for Embiid and the rest of the Sixers roster. It is reasonable to expect 20 points and 8 boards a night from Embiid. He has proven that those numbers are somewhat of a norm for him. However, as a fan base, should we really expect these types of performances from the likes of Robert Covington?
Tuesday night, the Sixers hosted the Timberwolves, in what some called “The Battle of the Big Men”. The headlining story of the game lived up to the hype throughout the night. However, the biggest story the next day was the “boo” assault that was unleashed on Covington. Fans made it clear from the start that they were not going to accept his 1-9 3pt line. They also made it clear that they would not accept 4-14 from the field. However, Robert finished the night with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and a buzzer beating layup to send the Sixers on their way to a victory. The old saying goes “shooters shoot”. In this case, Robert had a difficult night. He was active on defense and managed a double -double on a “down” night.
This is where the term “tunnel vision” comes into play. Due to Embiid putting up video game numbers for a rookie, are we to expect that from other players? As Sixers fans, we have seen far worse individual performances throughout the “Process” era, than the one we witnessed on Tuesday night. However, fans have developed the “tunnel”. All players are beginning to be held to the standard that Embiid is held to. If this “tunnel” mentality continues, the Wells Fargo Center will be filled with boos due to basic basketball mishaps that occur more often than not.
Sit back and enjoy. For the first time in years, there is an excitement about where the Sixers franchise is headed. Be thankful for Joel Embiid and the potential that he shows each night. Be anxious about the arrival of Ben Simmons and the draft picks that loom on the horizon. Don’t waste your time booing Robert Covington. The Process has been a LONG and bumpy road, however, good times are right around the corner. Finally.
Photo: TastyPoutine (via: Wikimedia Commons)