Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. For those who couldn't make our live show with CJ McCollum and Jose Alvarado in New Orleans, we uploaded it to all of our platforms last week. It's filled with a lot of great topics and a fun draft — check it out if you haven't already. If you're looking for thoughts on All-Star Weekend and Russ signing with the Clippers, stay tuned for today's episode of The Old Man and the Three Things (our Amazon Music exclusive weekly podcast). That will go live later today.
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
- Our Stat of the Week
- Tommy putting Joel Embiid's incredible numbers in context
- The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week
- Our Wine of the Week
Thanks for reading! —JJ
The Stat of the Week is 27.6
Over his last 17 games played, Los Angeles Clipper Kawhi Leonard has been on a tear. He has averaged 27.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field, 46.5% from 3, and 92.2% from the foul line (and these numbers include his last game played before All-Star break when he shot just 5 of 18 from the field and 0 of 5 from 3). The Clippers are 12-5 in those 17 games Kawhi has played and 24-11 for the season when he plays. Given Leonard’s recent hot streak, the Clippers trade deadline moves, and the news that Russell Westbrook is joining the Clippers, this team should be viewed as legit title contenders. There are still questions about Kawhi’s durability and what Westbrook’s role will be, but Clippers fans should be excited about the next few months and the possibility of winning the franchise’s first NBA title. —JJ
Our New Orleans live show with guests CJ McCollum and Jose Alvarado is now live on YouTube and all other platforms. It was an incredible experience that included conversations about the load management problem, Jose's beef with the Suns and Chris Paul, the new landscape in the West (post KD and Kyrie trades), the state of the Pelicans, and much more. Plus, we drafted Best Sports Agitators.
If you watched / listened the episode already ... who won the draft?
YouTube | Wondery+ | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | wherever you listen to your podcasts
Putting Joel Embiid's dominance in context
It's no secret to anybody who has ever listened to our show (or really anyone with a pulse) how good Joel Embiid is. A six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA and three-time All-Defensive player, Jo has been one of the dominant forces in the sport since his arrival in 2014. As we've discussed with him on the show multiple times, he can do things on the floor that nobody else on the planet has the combination of size and skill to do.
I saw a stat this week from Andy Bailey (great Twitter follow and writer for Bleacher Report) that helped put some of this dominance in perspective though. The top five players in career points per 75 possessions since 1973 (the first year the stat was tracked) are: LeBron (27.6,) KD (27.9,) Luka (29.7,) Michael Jordan (30.3) and coming in at the top of the list is Mr. Embiid at 30.9. When we have the conversation about LeBron's scoring record and Jokic's efficiency, it gets lost sometimes how many numbers Joel puts up that just don't make any sense. As Stat Muse pointed out, he is the 8th active center to record 10,000 career points. He has played 100 fewer games than everybody on the list. According to Bball Index, this season he ranks fourth in most impactful players per 100 possessions trailing only Jokic, Giannis, and Luka.
What I've found interesting is some of these stats where he's the only big man in sight. As NBA University catalogued on Twitter, Embiid is in the top 10 of efficient transition scorers, along with the likes of Jalen Brunson, his teammate Tyrese Maxey, and basically a bunch of guys a foot shorter than him. We know how good he has historically been at the mid range, but when you look deeper you realize he trails only KD, DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard, and Devin Booker in this category.
Most efficient transition scorers (min 100/poss)
1. Vassell: 1.49 ppp—104 poss
2. Murphy III: 1.414—160
3. Maxey: 1.41—139
4. Brunson: 1.40—159
5. Markkanen: 1.39—166
6. MPJ: 1.38—134
7. Franz Wagner: 1.374—151
8. Jerami Grant: 1.372—165
9. Tobias: 1.37—136
10. Embiid: 1.36—112
— NBA University (@NBA_University)
Feb 16, 2023
With Philly heading into All-Star on a four-game win streak, Joel is currently averaging 33/10/4, firmly in the MVP hunt. Nobody reading this letter needs me to tell them how good he is, but sometimes seeing these numbers in historical context can help hammer it home. —Tommy
Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Pho Short Rib Grilled Cheese at VAN ĐA
Picture the best grilled cheese melt in the world. Then add succulent short rib to it. Then add a duck infused bone broth to dip aforementioned grilled cheese into. And you have what is one of the best new sandwiches in New York or anywhere. VAN ĐA is a great, fairly new, not-super-expensive Michelin Star restaurant in the East Village. Everything on the menu is good. The Pho Short Rib Grilled Cheese is the best. —Tommy
Wine of the Week: 2015 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée
This is a beautiful red burgundy (Pinot Noir) that we enjoyed over the weekend at Clancy’s in New Orleans. For the second straight year, we took our kids down to NOLA to enjoy Mardi Gras festivities. There were many highlights of the trip (the parades, king cake, Bearcat Cafe, etc.), but our dinner at Clancy’s was definitely at the top of list. This is a village level burgundy, and Vosne-Romanée happens to be arguably the most famous village in Burgundy. It is often called “The Pearl of the Côte” because the wines from this village are exquisite (and famously expensive). In Burgundy, village level wines sources grapes from all over the area unlike premier cru or grand cru wines which come from a single vineyard. This wine is delicious and a great value. —JJ
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