Drafted as the third overall pick in 2014, Embiid missed his first two years in the NBA with a severe foot injury. This injury raised a lot of doubts about the Kansas big man, while creating a wave of backlash for the 76ers for drafting him so early. Well through 11 games in the 2016-17 NBA season, I believe it is safe to say those questions have been answered and the backlash silenced…by no other than Joel “The Process” Embiid.
In his first 9 games in the NBA, the seven foot 250 pound Embiid has ben a beast. He is averaging a team high 18 points, while shooting a nice 48% from the field, as well as nearly eight rebounds, two assists, and two rejections. Embiid’s versatility is shocking for someone at his position, shooting 50% from the three point line while attempting at least two threes per game. And I believe that this is no fluke. Embiid is on a minutes restriction, only logging about 22 minutes per game, making one wonder what “The Process” could do if he was playing even eight more minutes a night. Embiid also looks to be much further along as a mid-range scorer than I had thought, as he consistently hits his shots from around the free-throw line as well as beyond. While the 76ers are technically the worst team in the East with a 3-10 record, when Embiid has played he has not only been phenomenal but he has turned into a team leader, a fact supported with his outrageous 38% usage rating, a number only behind the likes of OKC PG Russell Westbrook and Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan.
No, Embiid is not Hakeem Olajuwon 2.0, yet, as he is averaging an ugly 4.2 turnovers per contest and his team defense needs to get better. But these are all things that the young big man can and will work on as he grows as a man and an NBA player. At 22 years old, Embiid has an extremely bright future ahead of him, a future that is firmly in his control now that he is healthy.
So is “The Process” legit? My answer is yes, as Embiid has successfully quelled an doubts I had about him after the past two seasons. What do you think, is Embiid a bona-fide beast or a bust in disguise? You know my answer, and if you need a bit more evidence, check out his highlights from the 76ers win over the Suns here.
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