Although the obvious “this is just preseason” caveat applies (as does the fact the Philadelphia 76ers were playing the Brooklyn Nets), Joel Embiid provided a glimpse of why he commanded that max extension.
Wednesday night, the Sixers’ top player dropped a monster stat line on a per-minute basis — and a solid one regardless of such a qualifier — by scoring 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds despite playing just 15 minutes.
Things went quite well for the fourth-year big man in his preseason debut. Brett Brown managed Embiid closely due to his return from back surgery. Embiid only started playing full-court five-on-five ball last week but ended up finishing with the second-most Sixers points in this game, second only to Dario Saric’s 26.
He returned to near-actual (because again, preseason) work at Nassau Coliseum and delighted the Internet with his offensive skill set.
Joel Embiid is half man, half god, half possible centaur. Please stay healthy, Joel. We want nothing more. pic.twitter.com/4BgY6Jl2lz
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 12, 2017
Joel Embiid’s first possession since returning from injury pic.twitter.com/HF3ZSEIlmh
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) October 11, 2017
Even shots that didn’t count impressed online folk.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 12, 2017
The former Kansas standout-turned-No. 3 overall pick delivered much of his work at the free-throw line, sinking 14 of 18 shots in a game that featured plenty of shots of all varieties going in. Illustrating the kind of defense at play, Philadelphia won 133-114.
Embiid played in just 31 games last season and signed a contract that has a clause protecting the Sixers in the event of a re-injury to his back or feet. The center remains a constant injury risk, but he’s expected to debut when Philadelphia opens its season against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 18 in the nation’s capital.
Embiid’s admitted he’s almost certain not to play in 82 games this season, but nights like this will intrigue Philly fans about the possibilities at play here in the games for which the big does dress.