Hot Take: Has Joel Embiid Already Emerged as a Top 15 Center in the NBA?
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers has only played two games so far this season, but he's been impressive. Embiid has been projected by many analysts to be an elite center since the day he was drafted. Injuries slowed down his momentum, but people still believe, if healthy, that Embiid can be a force in the league. Many people wondered if Embiid would ever make it on the court, but he's playing now and will be looking to make a name for himself. Well it's only two games into the season, but Embiid is already a top 15 center in the NBA. Here's a few reasons why.
Joel Embiid demands attention
In his very first game of the season, Joel Embiid scored 20 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played well and was a force in the paint as he kept the game close for Philly. Embiid played like an elite veteran as he scored on many possessions down the stretch to the point that the Thunder was double teaming him. To be double teamed in his first NBA game ever is a great indication that Embiid is not your average center. His second game was more of the same, but he only played 15 minutes due to the Sixers being blown out early. Nonetheless, teams are paying attention to him early on and that type of attention is only focused on the better players in the league.
Impact on Philly
When an arena that is normally empty is packed to see your first game, you are usually a top player. The 76ers arena was packed for it's first home game of the season and that was to see none other than Joel Embiid. Sixers fans are high on Embiid and they were chanting his name along with "trust the process" throughout the entire game. I haven't seen that much buzz and hype around a Sixers player since the days of Allen Iverson. Embiid is a top level talent, one of the better centers in the league and the city of Philadelphia knows it as well.
Sure it's only two games, but Joel Embiid is averaging 17 points in 19 minutes per game. His stats will only go up as the season progresses. He will start to adjust to the NBA more and he will play more minutes down the stretch of the season. One can only imagine the kind of numbers he will be able to put up in about 30 minutes per game. Embiid can score and have no problems getting to his spot. In limited action, Embiid is already proving that he is a talent on the rise.
It's not a stretch to say that Embiid is a top 15 center in the NBA after two games. Given the league's shortness of big men, Embiid can actually move up higher if his minutes go up this year. As of right now, there are about 10 centers better than Embiid and that is before the season progresses. In about a month, Embiid will fully establish himself as one of the better centers in the NBA, even with his minutes restriction. As a Sixers fan I am that high on him, but as an NBA fan I know that the league is scarce with big men. Regardless no matter which way you look at it, Joel Embiid is definitely one of the top center prospects in the NBA.