Joel Embiid is embroiled in his own award run.
But that didn’t stop him from thinking about someone else. The MVP winner climbed to the podium Monday as his 76ers beat the Nets to take a 2-0 lead in the series. He took a time out for Garren Jackson Jr.’s Defensive Player of the Year award that was announced prior to a tip-off. He used his stats as a launching pad.
Embiid log three blocks in Philadelphia win 96-84. He thinks the fund score cut him short.
“I had, what three blocks?” Embiid said. “Just three blocks? Maybe I need a Memphis scorer in Philly.”
The joke drew laughter from reporters at the scene, who were well-informed in conspiracy theories who questioned Jackson’s defensive prowess. In case you missed it, a Reddit post in January suggested that bluffs from the Grizzlies’ home score guard embellished Jackson’s defensive stats. This post has gone viral.
In short, I assumed the Memphis point guard had a bet on Jackson winning DPOY and inflated his block totals during Grizzlies home games. Jackson’s three blocks per game led the NBA this season and ultimately tipped the scales toward his DPOY victory.
But the theory was debunked — by the NBA, who were pushed to deal with the post after it garnered so much attention. The NBA’s Senior Vice President of Communications for League Operations Tim Frank issued a statement on January 28 explaining that all NBA statistics are reviewed and verified. Jackson’s blocks are legitimate.
“In order to ensure the integrity of our game stats, auditors, who are independent of on-site statisticians, review all play decisions and stats in real time during NBA games,” the statement reads. If changes are necessary, they are made at the time or after a postgame review.
“All of the plays questioned in the publication for the Memphis games were scored according to the rules set forth in the NBA Statistical Handbook.”
The Reddit post now bears the disclaimer: “misleading; not a score-keeper.”
However, this did not stop Embiid from shooting Jackson. The NBA would definitely prefer Embiid to let this one die. But he was never one to allow himself a trolling opportunity.
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