NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez (9) fouls Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Apr 09, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)
- The Philadelphia 76ers’ odds to win the NBA championship faded from +600 to +900 on Wednesday when it was announced Joel Embiid has a meniscus tear in his right knee
- Embiid is one of three finalists for NBA MVP after averaging 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in the regular season
- A look at the 76ers’ title hopes with Embiid’s status in doubt, as well as wagering advice can be found below
The Philadelphia 76ers’ odds to win the NBA championship have faded in the wake of star center Joel Embiid being diagnosed with a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
Following Wednesday’s news, the 76ers’ odds are now +900 and they are the fifth choice to win their first title since 1983. Those odds were +600 prior to Embiid being injured Monday night in a 122-114 victory over the Wizards in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first round playoff series in Washington.
2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
Odds as of June 2nd
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Embiid Listed as Day-to-Day
Embiid will sit out Game 5 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia as the 76ers, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, again try to close out the Wizards after taking a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Embiid is not scheduled to have surgery and the 76ers hope he can make it through the playoffs while being treated with physical therapy. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday and is officially listed as day to day.
The injury occurred in the first quarter Monday. Embiid was driving to the basket when he had a shot blocked by Robin Lopez and wound up on the floor behind the baseline.
No official word from the Sixers yet on Joel Embiid’s injury, but here’s the fall he took not long before leaving for the locker room.pic.twitter.com/s3NufD3LXs
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) June 1, 2021
Embiid remained in the game briefly before heading to the locker room and being declared out for the rest of the night.
Clearly, Embiid is the 76ers’ top player. He is one of three finalists for NBA MVP along with Stephen Curry and the Nikola Jokic.
In the regular season, Embiid was fourth in the league in scoring with 28.5 points a game and 10th in rebounding with a 10.6 average. He is often serenaded with chants of “M-V-P” during home games at the Wells Fargo Center.
36 PTS | 8 REB | 3 STL
Another night where @JoelEmbiid proved his case for MVP and posted a new playoff career-high.
📹 presented by @IBX pic.twitter.com/8IBK4itIg4
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 30, 2021
Against the Wizards, Embiid was dominant in the first three games as he averaged 29.3 points and 7.0 rebounds. He did that while playing just 28 minutes a game as the 76ers’ average margin of victory was 20.3 points. Embiid had eight points and six rebounds in 11:24 in Game 4.
Embiid missed 21 games because of injury in the regular season and the Sixers had a 10-11 record. They were 39-12 when he was in the lineup.
More Minutes for Scott, Howard
With Embiid out, look for Mike Scott and Dwight Howard to get an uptick in minutes played. Scott made 12 starts in the regular season and averaged 4.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 16.7 minutes.
Howard, an eight-time All-Star, had averages of 7.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 17.3 minutes. The 76ers would love it if the 35-year-old Howard could turn back the clock to become this guy.
on this day in Orlando Magic history, Dwight Howard knocks out LeBron James in a close-out Game 6 while dropping this stat-line:
— RK (@beyondtheRK) May 30, 2021
While there will certainly be a drop off in production from the center position with Embiid sidelined, the 76ers still have a good bit of star power on their roster.
Like Embiid, Ben Simmons was selected to the All-Star Game this year. Simmons scored 14.3 points, grabbed 7.2 rebounds and dished 6.9 assists on average in the regular season.
Simmons has scored less than 15 points in three of four games against the Wizard, drawing scorn from some critics. However, he can increase his offensive output against strong competition when necessarily as evidenced by scoring a career-high 42 points against the Utah Jazz on the road Feb. 15.
sike here’s Ben Simmons dropping a career high 42-points against the “DPOY” pic.twitter.com/3Buoy09ajr
— Aly🇪🇬 (@sixersaly) May 1, 2021
A strong case could be made that Tobias Harris should have also been an All-Star as he averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Harris scored at least 30 points three times and exceeded 20 points in 32 games.
He has averaged 24.3 points a game against the Wizards and dropped 37 in Game 1.
Can 76ers Win It All?
It seems highly doubtful the 76ers can make a title run if Embiid is sidelined for the rest of the playoffs, though they should get past the Wizards without him.
How long Embiid could play through the injury remains to be seen. However, with the change in odds, the price is attractive enough to make at least a small wager on the 76ers ending their 38-year championship drought.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.