This week, the Sixers and their fans finally got a chance to see center Joel Embiid play basketball for the first time in over two years.
In the Sixers’ first three preseason games, Embiid has been on a 12-minute restriction, but has shown flashes of potential and athleticism that many analysts predicted when he first came out of Kansas.
Nevertheless, Sixers head coach Brett Brown has been impressed with Embiid over these last few years and believes he could be a special player, even compared him to a future Hall of Famer.
“You see him and he just has ‘it,’” Brown said via Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly. “Years ago, you saw it with [Tim] Duncan. I see it with him in regards to a real target offensively and a real sort of centerpiece defensively.”
In Embiid’s first game against the Boston Celtics, he scored six points, on 2-of-6 shooting from the field but also impacted the game defensively with four rebounds and two blocks.[protected-iframe id=”d235f61b1e9aa2682fc9e2acd32524f1-114320562-38021522″ info=”https://vine.co/v/56QgqPrgq1L/embed/simple” width=”480″ height=”480″ frameborder=”0″]
However, in the Sixers’ second game against the Washington Wizards, Embiid was more aggressive, calling for the ball in the post, finishing with five points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, while grabbing three rebounds and cleaning up the glass with a block.
But Embiid’s best performance came against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he had a powerful jam to begin the game and knocked down a three-pointer in transition. He finished the game with 12 points (4-of-10 FG), four rebounds, and a block.
— NBA (@NBA) October 9, 2016
With the regular season only two weeks away, the Sixers will need Embiid to be the focal point on both offense and defense, especially with Ben Simmons out with an injury and the team still looking for a go-to scorer. Duncan commanded attention in the post with San Antonio and the Sixers will need the same from Embiid this season.