Joel Embiid has finally made his NBA debut with the Philadelphia 76ers after beating the Boston Celtics 92-89 on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia 76ers entered the preseason without their future superstar and No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Ben Simmons. The Sixers’ fans felt frustrated in the opening quarter where the team struggled against the Boston Celtics. However, as the game continues, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric gave them hope that the Sixers are in good hands even with Simmons sidelined due to injury.
It has been a long debate whether who the Sixers will use as their starting center. With the much-awaited arrival of Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, rumors continue to persist that either Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor will be traded. However, with Okafor currently, suffering an injury, Noel and Embiid will be given enough playing time in the succeeding games.
In their first game, the Sixers decided to limit the minutes given to Joel Embiid. As of now, Embiid’s health remains a major concern in the City of Brotherly Love. His past foot injuries were the reason why he missed two NBA seasons.
Embiid contributed six points, four rebounds, and two blocks in his NBA debut. The statistics may not be quite impressive, but he shows enough skills to prove that he deserves to be the Sixers’ starting center.
“I was pretty nervous,” he admitted. “I had trouble breathing, but once I got that first bucket, everything slowed down. I started seeing the game easier.”
The 7-foot-2 center can knock down three-pointers, which is very vital in the modern NBA. As of now, most people see him as a long-term project for the Sixers since he has lots of things to learn. Still, there is no doubt that he can be one of the best centers in the league.
Elton Brand praised Embiid’s courage to face any player in the league and his determination to improve his skills.
“His love of the game, if he lost any of it at all, it’s back,’’ Brand said. “He wants to be one of the best for sure, he wants to play against the best and find ways to be better. He’s that kind of guy.’’
If Joel Embiid continues to improve and build his confidence in the NBA, it will not be a surprise if the Sixers will push the trade for either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel. As of now, the Sixers target to remove the tag as the worst team in the Eastern Conference while molding into a tough contender team in the league.
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Video courtesy: YouTube/DunkFest