The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t have the season they hoped for when they collapsed in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. But it certainly wasn’t Joel Embiid’s fault that they didn’t achieve the goals they hoped to achieve last season.
Embiid’s 2021-22 campaign was easily the best of his career, as he raised his game to a new level to help the Sixers through some of the turmoil that surrounded them all season. Embiid was at the heart of everything that went right for Philadelphia last season, and it seemed everyone knew that once he suffered a thumb injury in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors, his season was over.
Even though the 76ers weren’t happy with how their season went, fantasy basketball owners were surely pleased with Embiid’s performance for them last season. Embiid was once again one of the best fantasy players in the NBA, and it seems likely that he will achieve similar success this season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Embiid’s fantasy outlook for next season and see what to expect from the star center.
Joel Embiid Fantasy Basketball Prospect 2022-23
As mentioned above, Embiid’s performance last season was wildly impressive. The 76ers needed him to pretty much be their offense, and he was for much of the season. The addition of James Harden helped (not as much as expected), but Embiid still paved the way for Philly.
Embiid finished the 2021–22 season as the NBA’s scoring champion, averaging 30.6 points per game. His efficiency dropped a bit as a result of needing to take more shots, though a 49.9 field goal percentage is nothing to scoff at. Embiid continued to be a strong 3-point shooter, shooting 37.1 percent of his shots from behind the arc, solidifying the notion that he is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.
Embiid was not only excellent offensively, but he also put together the best defensive season of his career. Embiid averaged more than a steal and a block per game for the second straight season, while he also grabbed 11.7 rebounds per game. Embiid is one of the best all-around defenders in the game, and he certainly showed that last season.
The one area of his game that Embiid lacks behind the competition at center position is his passing. Centers aren’t exactly expected to run their team’s offense, but we’ve seen guys like Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo dominate fantasy basketball the past two seasons because of their ability to run the offense despite not being a guard. That’s the biggest hole in Embiid’s game right now.
Embiid still averaged a career-high 4.2 assists per game last season, which isn’t bad, but nowhere near the 7.9 assists per game Jokic had last season. Embiid thinks he’s been the league’s MVP the past two seasons, but considering Jokic’s ability to do literally anything at a high level, there’s not much Embiid can complain about.
From a fantasy perspective, Joel Embiid is clearly one of the top 10 players right now. He is a lethal scorer and dominant defender who will put up huge amounts of points every night. He may not be as complete as the other top 10 picks, but Embiid’s strengths more than make up for it.
Embiid finished as the fourth-highest scoring player in fantasy basketball last season, but it’s unknown if he’ll be able to finish in the same rank next season. The 76ers’ offense still has some question marks, and if Harden fails again, Embiid could be in store for another big season. If Harden shows up, Embiid’s production could come back down to earth a bit this season.
Embiid seems likely to come off the board between the fifth and 10th overall picks in the draft. He needed a lot to get it right last season to break into the top five, and that doesn’t seem likely to happen again. Embiid has dealt with injuries throughout his career, and he has a lot more help around him now than he did at the start of last season.
Embiid’s scoring is likely to drop as the Sixers try to get Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris more involved on offense this season. However, Embiid can improve as a passer, and his efficiency will likely increase if he isn’t responsible for most of the scoring like he was last season.
There’s no reason to expect Embiid to be bad this season, but it might not be worth throwing the gun at him early in this season’s fantasy drafts. Embiid is an easy pick for the first round, but there are other players who will probably outplay him. Joel Embiid may go too early in the drafts, but if he’s in that five-to-10 pick range, there won’t be a better player to use your first-round pick.