Joel Embiid has shown immense patience in his career, and that has been a source of inspiration for some Philadelphia 76ers players.
One of the biggest things detractors came back to with the Philadelphia 76ers year after year was the lack of veteran presence as they underwent their drastic facelift of a rebuild over the last few seasons. Fans said there were no role models on the team, no players to look up to, and no examples to follow.
While that may have been true, it was all by design. Sam Hinkie, the former president and general manager of the team, wanted to make a team that was focused on development completely, and veteran players would have been past that stage.
Still, something perhaps no one saw coming was that with a lack of veterans, younger players could step up and create experiences for themselves that pushed them into role model situations. Take Joel Embiid, for example. Embiid missed the first two seasons of his career after being drafted third overall by the Sixers. With no veterans on the team to really look up to, he had to create his own path, figure things out for himself, and really mature quickly when it came to the NBA.
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While that could have been looked at as a really damaging thing, for Embiid to go into such a tough beginning of his career with no “big brother” figure to look up to and get motivation from, he ended up doing quite well, and was incredibly patient with his rebuild, and came back strong.
"“He was out for two years, he came back strong. He was working. That’s respectable. He was out for two years and then when he came back, he was strong. He was ready.”"
For TLC, being patient is something that he obviously put into his own career The beginning of his career was not fast, by any means. It was almost treacherously slow. In the team’s first 25 games this season, TLC played just 18, and appeared in less than 7 minutes per game. He averaged 2.2 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists.
TLC kept at it, though, and continued to develop wherever he was, whether that was with the Sixers in practice, or even with the Delaware 87ers. Looking at the Sixers’ final 25 games of this season, he played in all 25, averaged 27.2 minutes per game, started 18 games, and averaged 11.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.
Not too shabby considering how he started. Of course, the playing time was only available because injuries piled up and because the Sixers were not looking to really compete, but TLC was patient in waiting for that playing time.
It just goes to show that without a veteran presence, role models still rise to the top. Embiid is young, but his inspiration rivals that of an established player.