People are no longer asking if Joel Embiid is good. The new question is how good is Joel Embiid? Barring no setbacks, it’s clear Embiid has the potential to be an all-time great on both ends of the floor. His elite rim protecting ability, paired with his dream-like offensive prowess could prove to be a problem for any player who dares to come into his paint, or defend him.
How much does Embiid’s presence on the court affect the 76ers? With Embiid off the court, the Sixers are allowing 110.3 points per 100 possessions. That ranks 29th in the NBA. On the other hand, with Embiid on the court, the Sixers allow 98.8 points per 100 possessions. That ranks 1st in the NBA. November’s Rookie of the Month also has 29 blocks in 13 career games. Along with his 29 blocks, Embiid has 218 points and 93 rebounds. The last player to put up those stats in their first 13 games: Shaquille O’Neal. What’s scary about that is Shaq wasn’t on minute restrictions, nor was he shooting over 51% from 3. How much better will Embiid’s stat line be when his minute restrictions are lifted?
Unlike many top prospects, playing basketball isn’t something Embiid has done his entire life. He left Cameroon to chase a career in basketball back in 2011. Since then, Embiid has played 28 games in college, and 13 games in the NBA. With such a small sample size, Embiid’s ceiling is so high, nobody knows how great he truly can be. The rest of the NBA is on notice. Embiid is averaging 29.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per 36-minutes. Even without Ben Simmons, who had surgery for a Jones fracture of his fifth metatarsal on Oct. 4, Embiid is still able to beat triple teams, and score over proven veterans such as Hassan Whiteside. When matched up against Whiteside on November 21, Embiid scored 17 points on 6-9 shooting. Whiteside scored 12 on 4-8 shooting. The double-double leader for rookies, and frontrunner for Rookie of the Year has minimal talent around him, and is still able to produce incredible numbers.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance at two top-5 picks in the upcoming NBA draft. In a loaded 2017 draft class, the Sixers have the ability to put some serious talent around their prized big man. With a healthy Joel Embiid, the future of the Sixers is very bright.
Photo: Brent Burford (via: Wikimedia Commons)