Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid might be an MVP-caliber, All-Star player, but the big man is also a perfectionist. Therefore, no matter how excellent he looks on the court, he'll always have to judge a part of his game.
Last Saturday, Embiid returned to the court after a three-plus week hiatus due to a bruised knee. Despite putting up 24 points in 28 minutes during his first game back, Embiid thought he had a bad game overall.
But a lot of Embiid's judgment was related to his success at the free-throw line. This year, Embiid has knocked down a career-high of 84-percent of his foul shots. To say he's been efficient in that area is an understatement.
However, when Embiid missed five of his 17 free-throw attempts this past Saturday against Boston, the big man was quite frustrated. And although Embiid was much more satisfied with his overall performance against the Boston Celtics on the road on Tuesday night, his minor struggles from the charity stripe still left him frustrated.
Immediately after the game wrapped up on Tuesday night, Embiid participated in a postgame interview on the TNT broadcast. As he assessed his performance, Embiid addressed his apparent frustrations after going 16-20 from the foul line. "I should be a 90 percent free-throw shooter," Embiid said. "So every miss that I have, I'm pissed off."
After spending some time in the locker room, Embiid addressed Philadelphia-based reporters before splitting from TD Garden to catch a flight to New Orleans. Once again, Embiid reiterated his frustrations with his few missed foul shots.
“I’m actually very disappointed,” Embiid explained. “The last two games, there were a lot of them that just, I don’t know why, but I just got to focus, I guess. They’re called free throws for a reason, and I love getting to the free-throw line. I don’t spend any energy from being at the free-throw line. I actually rest more.
"I should just take my time and knock them down. At some point in my career, I want to become a 90-percent free-throw shooter and just knock them down every single time I get to it because I go there so many times. That’s what makes you unguardable when you can get your spot and either score or get fouled.”
Despite his "struggles" at the free-throw line, Embiid still had an outstanding game against the Celtics on Tuesday night. In 32 minutes of action, he accounted for a game-high of 35 points while collecting six rebounds and a blocked shot. Overall, the Sixers played well, but Embiid's dominance helped them pick up a 106-96 victory, sweeping the Celtics for the first time since 2001.