Joel Embiid, drafted No.3 overall in 2014, is yet to play a solitary NBA game. This coming season is supposed to mark Embiid’s long-awaited debut. But the center is reportedly not yet ready.
According to onlookers at the Philadelphia 76ers’ training camp, the 7-footer showed signs of rust during scrimmage sessions and looked like the shadow of the player who came out of Kansas.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday that Embiid struggled to find his balance and footwork during practice. Also, the Cameroonian couldn’t figure out things in real-time speed, especially on defense.
Remember, the Sixers have a heavy frontcourt rotation which includes Nerlens Noel, Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric and this year’s No.1 overall pick Ben Simmons.
There is still no clarity on who will start when preseason gets underway. But all signs point to Noel and Simmons forming the starting frontcourt with Okafor, Saric and Embiid coming off the bench.
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Joel Embiid isn’t ready…
After Wednesday’s scrimmage, Embiid acknowledged that he had ways to go before adjusting to NBA speed.
“Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball and shooting. So I’ve still got to get in the flow of the game.
“So it’s going to take time. Yeah, it’s kind of hard now, but I think it’s going to come,” added the 7-foot-2, 276 pounder who drew comparisons with Hakeem Olajuwon during his college career.
Sixers fans have been yearning for two years to see Embiid get on the court.
And the 22-year-old realizes that he would let the fans down again if he doesn’t redeem his career this season.
“It’s really frustrating. But like I said, you’ve got to trust the process, which I’ve been doing. I have to keep working on my game and make sure I do the same thing over and over.
“I think I’m the type of guy that’s going to learn fast. It’s just going to come when it comes,” added Embiid.
Sixers coach Brett Brown, however, didn’t sound so concerned.
“He’s a big man and he’s got a mind-set to back up his physical gifts,” said Brown, when asked about Embiid’s inclination to dunk the ball instead of focusing on movement and spacing.
“That is a mentality more than anything. Just as time goes on, you see it (he will learn to step out of the post). (At the moment), you see all the times when you realize he hasn’t played basketball for a long time,” added Brown.
Joel Embiid and the Sixers begin their preseason against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 4.