After inking a five-year, $148 million deal, Joel Embiid is not only the Philadelphia 76ers’ top player this upcoming season, but will likely remain as such for the next half-decade
As a brief reminder of how this works, we here at TSS averaged rankings from 14 different staff members in order to get a composite list of the Philadelphia 76ers‘ best players, from No. 1 through No. 16.
Next is Joel Embiid, who comes in at No. 1.
- 16. James Michael McAdoo
- 15. Furkan Korkmaz
- 14. Justin Anderson
- 13. Jahlil Okafor
- 12. Nik Stauskas
- 11. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
- 10. Amir Johnson
- 9. Jerryd Bayless
- 8. T.J. McConnell
- 7. Richaun Holmes
- 6. Dario Saric
- 5. J.J. Redick
- 4. Markelle Fultz
- 3. Robert Covington
- 2. Ben Simmons
- 1. Joel Embiid
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After two injury-filled seasons, the former Kansas Jayhawk made his long-awaited début last October, finally delivering on the hype that surrounded him prior to the 2014 NBA Draft.
While Embiid’s presence on the floor made the Sixers a drastically better team, it was his youthful and charismatic spirit that made him such a joy to watch. His smile is infectious while his thundering laugh is impossible to ignore. He plays the game with a passion not displayed by most others of his caliber and ” … does things on the court that remind me of somebody who is able to hear music and just play the song,” said Sixers head coach Brett Brown during a media session on Oct. 9.
A small sample of elite player
Despite playing in just 31 games last season, Embiid’s transcendent skills were obvious. When Embiid caught fire, he was (nearly) impossible to guard. He shot 36.7 percent from 3-point range while simultaneously exhibiting the quickness to blow by defenders and attack the rim.
Averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks last season, Embiid’s numbers were impressive, even before extrapolating those statistics to a per 36 minute basis.
Yet the 23-year-old was not without flaws offensively. For someone of his physical stature and offensive talent, he should score at a far more efficient clip as he only shot 46.4 percent from the field with a 50.8 true shooting percentage. Furthermore, he coughed up the ball nearly four times per game in only 25 minutes of action a night.
With considerably more talent surrounding him this season, including No. 1 picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, Embiid, if able to stay healthy, should see his shooting percentages skyrocket. In order to cut down on his turnovers, Embiid must improve his ability to recognize when the double team is coming and the ability to pass out of it, preventing live-ball giveaways.
Defensively, he anchored the paint, singlehandedly transforming Philadelphia into a formidable defensive team. When healthy, Embiid is one of the most impactful defensive players in the entire NBA. A full season of Embiid will likely place him squarely in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. While the Sixers may struggle to score at times next season, Embiid, along with Robert Covington and the versatile Simmons, will form a strong defensive starting unit.
Encouraging Embiid elements
Recent reports suggest that the second-year player is dominating five-on-five scrimmages (of course) and is likely to play in at least one of the Sixers’ preseason games, all encouraging signs for his availability come regular season.
Embiid possesses all the tools to become a transcendent player. The only thing holding him back from emerging as such is an extensive injury history. Though it’s clear the Sixers’ management has the utmost confidence in Embiid, as evidenced by his new max-contract. The upcoming season will be an important one in determining the success of not only Embiid’s career, but The Process as a whole.
(All stats via Basketball Reference)