- Jessica Hill/AP
Tuesday night marked the first game of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid’s NBA career, and it got off to a good start.
Embiid was the third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but missed the first two seasons of his career with injuries. He hadn’t played an organized basketball game since March of 2014, when he was a freshman at Kansas University.
In his first preseason game, playing with a minutes restriction, Embiid got right to work. Though he missed his first three shots, he settled down and began to show his tantalizing potential.
A nice, smooth post-up for a fade-away:
A spot-up jumper from three-point territory:
And a big block at the rim, showing off his quick feet and timing:
A 7-footer who can post up, step outside to hit jumpers, and defend the rim? Worth the wait. Embiid finished with six points on 2-of-6 shooting, with four rebounds and two blocks in 13 minutes.
After the game, he told reporters, “It felt great. … I was pretty nervous. I had trouble breathing, but once I got that first bucket, everything slowed down. I started seeing the game easier.”
76ers coach Brett Brown remarked of Embiid’s potential, “For his first game, when you watch him, you can see what can be with him.”
It’s only one preseason game, and the key for Embiid will be staying healthy and not forcing the action. But after two years of inactivity, the 76ers couldn’t ask for a better start.