Is Joel Embiid Ready to Return?
Selling the idea of Joel Embiid changing the Sixers’ fortune hasn't been easy.
The idea of a big man with foot problems leading the franchise is a story the Sixers know all too well. The team traded for center Jeff Ruland before the 1986-1987 season, but foot injuries ended his NBA career, for Embiid his career hasn't even gotten off-the-ground.
But it sounds like the Sixers, and Embiid himself finally think he will be ready for the start of the 2016-17 season.
Following the Sixers getting the No. 1 overall pick the 2014 No. 3 overall pick tweeted that he was joining whoever the team selected with the top selection.
Embiid hasn't played any 5-on-5 since his one season at Kansas. His basketball career has consisted of 28 colleges games during the 2013-2014 season, where he scored 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. While those numbers dont jump off the page, he did that playing just 23..1 minutes per game.
"I think they (Sixers) are on the good side of cautiously optimistic," Sixers beat writer Tom Moore said on the Sports Bash. "He was looking pretty good last year and had a set-back and getting surgery in mid-August."
Embiid was dunking and doing more basketball moves in a workout on Monday, supposedly the next step for him will be some 2-on-2 workouts, the 76ers have declined to comment on the report that Embiid has been cleared to participate in 2-on-2 drills next week, but his actions on the court seem to indicate he is ready to take a step forward.
@Sixers Updated Joel Embiid #Sixers workout VIDEO from today beginning with a slow motion dunk pic.twitter.com/9dLyNowiQU — Marc Narducci (@sjnard) May 17, 2016
That leads us to wondering how the Embiid-Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram lineup will work.
Could any combination of those lineups handle small-ball or shooting power forwards. Offensively, last year the combo of Noel and Okafor was disastrous, though how well Embiid and Noel could coexist with more offense on the perimeter is a legitimate question.
Simmons is a great ball-handler and passer, Ingram a better shooter, Saric has been working on this three-point shot, but is by no means the second coming of Steph Curry.
Sure the Sixers have a ton of talent and the process of putting that talent together should be interesting to watch. However, it by no means guarantees the Sixers are going from 10-to-45 wins over night.
But the signs are there for optimism, starting with finally hitting the lottery.