Pass the Anvil: Evaluating the Next NBA Media Star Targets


SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
Well, Tatum has now shaken off the NBA media’s criticism of him. So, who holds the anvil now?

Luka is in a weird position of being a media darling but took a ton of heat after G3. He is probably the guy now.

Nobody really cares about Devin Booker so don’t think he’ll ever deal with that pressure.

Joel Embiid is another candidate as a guy who hasn’t even made the ECF despite being a former MVP in his prime.

Shai is stuck in a small market with almost zero expectations but coming off a season where they were the #1 seed, he’ll need to start delivering results in the next couple of years but I don’t ever see much criticism coming his way.

Anthony Edwards is still very young so he’s a few years away, I think. But after being called a young MJ by some, he may see elevated expectations.

Ditto for Wemby where the pressure is more on SA to find him talent vs media expectations. But a guy of his calibre will eventually need some playoff results.

Trae Young? Donovan Mitchell? Brunson?

Feels to me like immediate pressure is squarely on Luka and Embiid but curious to hear others’ thoughts.


SoSH Member
Aug 23, 2011
If the Wolves/Thunder don’t have a great run next year, the Ant/SGA stuff will start.

For now, Embiid and to a lesser extent, Luka.

And it’s still stupid.


SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
watching post game videos and some media tweeter said in response to Tatum's 'What are the gonna say now?" said.. "Win a finals MVP".

The hate for Tatum is still real. Richard Jefferson said, "Jason Tatum could walk on water and people would ask him why he isn't swimming."

Hopefully the anvil gets handed off - I think it may be Embiid - Luka is still going to get praise for getting his team to the finals. Who has the track record of getting to the playoffs with no Championships?


SoSH Member
Feb 12, 2003
where I was last at
Embiid is a mega star unstoppable force in a big hoops market, with history Yet he continually manages to stub his toe and is sent sprawling. He's do for some serious scrutiny about his leadership and toughness.

Luka is too, except NASCAR and the rodeo are bigger in Dallas than the NBA.


SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
Luka is officially at the point where he's gonna take a lot of shit if he doesn't win a title. It won't start if/until he fails next year, but I think he goes into next season as a universally acknowledged top 3 guy next to Jokic and Giannis, and those guys already have their rings. It's not really fair for the same reason it's not fair for Tatum (Luka winning a ring in the next 2 years would still make him pretty young historically for a #1 to win a title), but I think the heat he faced after game 3 shows that the media will not hesitate to beat him up.

Embiid I still can't quite figure out, but I think it's gotta be that no one takes him seriously as a playoff guy. The only player remotely close to his stature in recent history that I can think of with the same history of never going deep in the playoffs is Chris Paul, who didn't make the conference finals until his 10th playoff run, at age 32, as the #2 guy. He took some heat, but wasn't truly killed for it, because nobody really thought a team with a guy barely 6' could be the best player on a title team (and most of his prime was before 6'2 Curry started winning titles), even has he garnered a pretty impressive string of all-nba teams and top 8 MVP finishes.

SGA is still seen as super young, so it's gonna surprise some people to realize that he'll be 26 in a few weeks. It wouldn't shock me if the clock starts ticking for him after next year, especially if his teammates look better, and the general public realizes that he's almost 30. It's not his fault at all, but he's 4 months younger than Tatum and has won just one playoff series in his career.

Ant is still so young, I think he's still at least two years away even if he makes a big jump in the regular season and looks like a legit MVP candidate.

I don't know who else would even be in the discussion, to be honest. There are a couple of ringless older guys still bouncing around at or close to all-star level (PG, Harden, Butler, Lillard) who people are generally tired of picking on, there are some top 20 guys in their primes mentioned above (Booker, Mitchell, Brunson) that everyone knows aren't quite good enough, and there are a couple of really young guys (Banchero, Wemby) who we all know are a few years away. It should be Luka and Embiid, those guys are perennial 1st team all-NBA level players who've been to the playoffs a bunch. Put up or shut up.