• Matt Peoples

What to Expect From Joel Embiid in 2017

31 games is representative of a lot of things for Sixers fans. It’s the culmination of years of losing that would make the Washington Generals blush; the manifestation of a disposed man’s master plan finally allotting tangible results. 31 games is also the acute basketball comparison to the viral videos of poor individuals falling for the belief that they had won the lottery, gripping to the exuberance propelled by a phony scratch off. The bright burning bliss is coldly doused by the prankster sibling ushering reality back into your life; the Sixers PR staff announcing Joel Embiid will miss the remainder of the season. Yet, Joel was worth the wait and anguish and will continue to justify that patience because talent like that is hard to find and even harder to predict into the future. But, hey, that’s why I’m here.

The Sky AKA Joel’s Embiid's Potential

Joel Embiid and the basketball rim are actually very close. Joel is kind of a big brother figure to the rim, constantly protecting it from any negative influences like the oppositions layup and dunk attempts. In plain terms, Joel was one of the best rim protectors in the NBA in his limited time last season. With rim protection numbers superseding Rudy Gobert, these claims are as hard to argue as it is to score on the guy.

What makes Joel special is that he combines this elite level defense with the ability to score the ball from anywhere on the court. Embiid averaged 20.2 points a game while flashing a potentially elite face up game with the ability to hit shots from behind the arch or crash defenses off of close outs. This made Joel an absolute menace out of the pick and pop where opposing players had to decide whether basketball was worth playing anymore. Joel even began showing capable passing vision when he was allowed to read cutters while operating out of the elbow. Sorry, I know the words operating and a body part should never be used together when discussing Joel. If healthy, Joel could suit up next season as one of the most complete players in the league at only 24 years old.

A Glove AKA Joel’s Fit with the Sixers Starters

Joel Embiid is the perfect center for every team - a rim protecting, floor spacing behemoth. Yet for the Sixers and their starting lineup, Joel will offer benefits essential to the success of his teammates. With Embiid’s gravity in the post, JJ Redick and Robert Covington will get more free shots than the pretty girl at a bar. Ben Simmons will be able to attack a wide open lane as defenders simply can’t help off Joel Embiid. Markelle Fultz will have a defensive anchor covering his rookie mistakes who also doubles as the ideal pick and roll partner. All the same things will help Joel succeed as he and the starters will exist in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship – the best of its kind. Is this a Dr. Phil episode or a basketball article?

Not Much AKA the Things Joel Must Improve Upon

The obvious answer here is health but staying healthy is a difficult thing improve upon. The only recommendation to make is for Joel to improve his landing technique. Too many times Joel came down off a leap with his legs so stiff in the knee that they caved inward suggesting that he may not be fully comfortable with his size and mobility just yet. Lock him in a Sky Zone with a strength and conditioning coach and trampoline-train that man to safe landing perfection. That is almost definitely not a thing but the sentiment still stands.

On the court, Joel will have adjust to a usage rate lower than his sky high one of last year. He must be able to continue to be “the man” while keeping synergy with teammates. This will involve continued improvement he showed with his passing last season. Notice the “on the court improvements” sections is notably shorter than the “on the court capabilities” section. The guy is just too good.

Statistical Predictions AKA the Prediction of Statistics

If healthy, Joel can lead this Sixers roster into the playoffs. Not only are the playoffs possible, but Joel may be able to wean his way into a few award races as well with his statistical output. I won’t say which just to try to keep any credibility as an unbiased writer. Go Sixers.

Prediction – 22.4 PPG 9.2 RPG 2.1 APG 2.4 BPG 30.2 MPG 48% FG 38% 3FG

ALL STATS – stats.nba.com , basketball-reference.com


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