Pelicans Rookie Draws Technical Foul & Joel Embiid’s Respect. Embiid Picks Up Tab

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid often makes news because of his fantastic play on the court. He has carried the load for the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently 29-19 and first place in the Atlantic Division. In the 76ers 117-107 win on Tuesday night, he was able to turn an almost ugly incident into a positive one. Embiid offered to pay rookie Jose Alvarado’s fine after their on-court altercation .

An Embiid foul drove Pelicans veteran guard Garrett Temple to the ground with just under five minutes left in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game. Heated about the physical play, Alvarado decided to step up and and confront Embiid, exchanging words that led to both getting technical fouls.

“I just like his energy. He plays hard. He competes. Even when he picked up the tech, he wasn’t backing down,” said Embiid, “After the game, I just went up to him and told him to keep fighting and keep it going.”

Embiid is used to getting tangled up on the court himself. His playstyle involves getting into players’ heads, which has resulted in him frustrating opponents and causing them to react negatively. No matter your thoughts on his play style, it certainly works for the big man, who is averaging 28 points, ten rebounds, and four assists while playing about 32 minutes of a game this season.

Embiid collected a double-double of 42 points and 14 rebounds against the Pelicans despite the in-game drama. MVP honors could be in Embiid’s future if he continues the same level of play for Philadelphia.

Alvarado, who is currently on a two-way contract worth $462,629, is not on the same pay scale as Embiid, who will earn almost 32 million dollars this season.

According to the NBA’s website, in the regular season, the NBA sanctions players $2,000 for technical fouls 1-5, $3,000 for techs 6-10, and $4,000 for techs 11-15. After 16 technical fouls, a player’s fine increases to $5,000 plus a one-game suspension, with each technical foul costing $5,000.

According to the NBA’s rulebook, whether or not said player is ejected, the NBA may impose a fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or suspension upon such player by the Commissioner at his sole discretion. Embiid is currently tied for second in the league in technical fouls, with 11.

“We talked during the game. It was all love and respect,” the Pelicans rookie told the media.

Alvarado is averaging around four points, one assist, and one rebound a game for the Pelicans this season. He has seen his minutes rise in his last ten games, averaging about 15.7 minutes of floor time per game.

The game against the 76ers, which saw Alvarado collect his first start because of injuries on the team, was a positive one for the rookie. Alvarado was able to collect eleven points, five assists and two blocks in what was an impressive starting debut for the Brooklyn native.

It was Alvarado’s first game of the season in which he played more than 20 minutes. His role in tonight’s game against Denver is a bit of a question mark that is reliant on the health of Devonte Graham, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.

If he continues to perform like the way he did against the 76ers, it will be hard for the Pelicans coaching staff to take him off of the floor in key moments

The Sixers front office is currently no stranger to dealing with fines. Their star point guard, Ben Simmons, has not been with the team all season, citing mental health concerns. But the 76ers have still fined him upwards of seven million for his continued no-shows. While the team continues to look for trade options, expect more fines to come his way.