After a two-year wait, Joel Embiid stepped on an NBA floor Tuesday night, and gave Philadelphia Sixers reason to be optimistic about their team’s future.
The big fella scored his first hoop on a turnaround jumper, and showed off his defensive chops.
— Philly.com Sports (@phillysport) October 5, 2016
Embiid finished with six points, four rebounds and had three turnovers in just under 13 minutes of action during the Sixers’ 92-89 preseason win against the Boston Celtics.
“I thought I did pretty well defensively and that was one of my goals.” he said. “Offensively it’s going to come. After the first basket, everything opened up. I felt like I had more energy and I felt like I was free.”
After missing his first three shots and looking confused at the defensive end in his first run, which lasted 4:16, Embiid seemed to become more comfortable. He hit a 10-foot fadeaway and a jumper with his toe on the three-point line, blocked an attempted dunk and a 15-foot jumper. The flashes were enough to entice fans to momentarily forget that Ben Simmons was lying in a hospital bed in New York after having surgery earlier in the day to repair his fractured right foot.
“I think I’m excited as anybody (to watch Embiid play),” said Jahlil Okafor, who sat out the preseason opener to rest his surgically repaired knee. “I’m excited to see him play and go out there to do his thing. I feel like he’s going to perform well, from what I’ve seen from him. He’s an excellent player. Just seeing the struggles he had to go through, the constant struggle. I remember going to his house after I was drafted and then finding out that he wasn’t going to be able to play with me last year, seeing the disappointment on his face. Now, seeing him overcome it, to be able to be disciplined for two years in a row to go through not playing and now he’s finally here. It’s a great story and I’m excited to see him play.”