Philadelphia 76ers: 5 takeaways from the 2018-19 NBA season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 5: Joel Embiid #21, Jimmy Butler #23, and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on during a game against the Toronto Raptors during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 5, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 5: Joel Embiid #21, Jimmy Butler #23, and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on during a game against the Toronto Raptors during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 5, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Joel Embiid has to get in better shape

It’s no exaggeration to claim Joel Embiid has the talent to be one of the greatest big men of all-time. The sheer volume of his statistics insinuates that much. The issue that continues to get in the way of his superstar-level play is a body that constantly betrays him, or possibly vice versa.

Embiid famously missed the first two seasons of his career, but even upon gracing the NBA with his presence on the court, the DNPs continue to pile up. He’s missed 37 games over the past two seasons, including three postseason games.

In the 2019 NBA Playoffs alone, each game was met with another ailment. The NBA releases an injury report prior to each game. Embiid’s name appeared in all but four contests with conditions ranging from knee soreness to a virus that had him throwing up the night before a Game 4 loss to the Raptors.

After leaving the University of Kansas, Embiid weighed around 230 pounds. He wasn’t as physically overpowering as his present-day self, but he was agile and quick with an explosive first step. Now, he weighs roughly 250 — too much weight on a seven-footer prone to unleash his inner point guard from time to time.

Embiid did his best to put muscle onto his skinny frame coming out of college. Given the poor conditioning he exudes on a nightly basis, he may have overdone it just a bit. His goal this offseason should be to take some weight off those creaky knees and find a middle ground between the two versions of himself.

In doing so, he’d decrease his chance of further injury and find himself in better overall shape, thereby putting himself in a better position to consistently dominate the rest of the NBA moving forward.