Joel Embiid’s production has been inconsistent since his return from a knee injury that sidelined him for 10-straight games last month.
After a 35-point outing against the Boston Celtics was followed up by just 14 on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, the 76ers’ star center dropped 21 points in the first half on his way to 27 on Saturday in a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following that win, he shed some light on why some of those inconsistencies on the offensive side have been prevalent lately — citing the sizable brace on his injured knee as something that has prompted adjustments to be made.
“It just feels like every shot that I take, I just have a hitch,” Embiid said. “And it’s not a full-motion or it’s not as smooth as it was in the past, even when I make them. I just got to get used to it and get back to where I was before.”
There are nights where he looks like he’s more used to it than others. On Saturday he shot 10-of-17 from the field a day after going just 5-of-16.
It’s even impacted his free throw shooting, as the 27-year old lamented on his woes from the charity stripe in recent games last week.
Over his last two games, however, he is shooting 11-of-13 from the free-throw line.
“[The brace affects] everything,” Embiid added. “When you have a brace cutting that blood flow and blood circulation on your legs, my legs get tired fast. It’s an adjustment, but it’s there to protect me so I just got to keep doing it.
“The advice I always get is to keep shooting them. Miss or make, you got to keep taking them. Obviously, they haven’t been going in. A lot of it has to do with the brace and just getting back to myself.”
The quicker Embiid gets used to the leg brace, the better it will be for the 76ers. Their win against Oklahoma City on Saturday drew them level with the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
They head to Dallas to face the Mavericks on Monday night (7:30 p.m. ET).