Joel Embiid is counting the 2018-19 campaign as a his rookie season.
The big fella says it’s because he is “coming in healthy” for the first time since being drafted in 2014.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) October 15, 2018
The 24-year-old is now ready to chase the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
“I kind of count this as my rookie season, because I’m coming in healthy,” said Embiid, who finally enters the season on a level playing field with other players in terms of health. “For the first time ever, I got a chance to work on my basketball skills, which I feel like I’ve already gotten so much better with the help of the coaches and my trainer, Drew [Hanlen].”
So the Sixers want him to incorporate more of what they call “bully ball” into his game this season. To them, “bully ball” — getting the ball in the paint and attacking the rim — will yield more free-throw attempts for Embiid.
“I’m still learning,” he said. “You know I started playing basketball seven years ago. There’s still a lot to learn, adapting to double teams and playing through contact, which I’m going to do more of this year.
“Occasionally, if I’m wide open, I’m going to take a three-pointer.”