Being selected third in the 2014 NBA Draft after just a single season at Kansas, expectations for Joel Embiid were huge. Suffering from a foot injury which required two surgeries and two missed seasons, Embiid showed promise last year in his rookie campaign but yet missed significant time due to injury.
He averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25 minutes per night, but missed 51 games due to recovery from his foot injury, bone bruise and torn meniscus in right knee. The big question entering the 2017-2018 campaign was whether or not Embiid could stay healthy. On a minutes restriction to start, Embiid would not be cleared for back-to-back games. Eventually the kid gloves started coming off and Embiid would play more than 30 minutes per night, but still not playing in all back-to-backs. Missing short periods of time due to minor injuries, Embiid is showing how he can be one of the best centers, if not the best center, for many years to come.
He is averaging 24 points,11 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2 blocked shots per night. A great sign is he is averaging 31.2 minutes and has played in about 80 percent of the game, projecting to 64 for the season. Ultimately the goal is to play all games, but Embiid is well on his way to fulfilling early promise out of Kansas. Former basketball player, announcer and member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fall, Sonny Hill has compared Embiid’s development to that of a young Wilt Chamberlain. Hill says he has never done that before. High praise for a player who has appeared in only 60 NBA games. The skills are there. It’s just a matter of staying healthy for Embidd to be the best center in the league and carry the 76ers back to NBA prominence. As the saying in Philadelphia is right now, “Trust the process”, the patience is there with Embiid and the young 76ers, who have added potential rookie of the year Ben Simmons.
The NBA has taken notice and teams are now game planning to deal with Embiid, who has put the once proud 76ers back on the map.