Cameroonian Center Joel Embiid Emboldens Philadelphia

Posted November 8th, 2016 at 4:55 pm (UTC-4)
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Joel Embiid dunks in a game against the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid dunks in a game against the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

“I want to play more,” says Joel Embiid, “but it’s on them.”

“Them,” in this case, is the coaching staff of the Philadelphia 76ers, which is taking a cautionary approach with their young and talented Cameroonian center, who missed the past two NBA seasons because of a broken right foot.

Embiid is currently averaging 22 minutes a game, less than half of a regulation NBA contest, but even with restricted playing time, he’s showing he soon could develop into one of the league’s dominant players.

In Philadelphia’s first six regular season games, all losses, Embiid has averaged almost 18 points and seven rebounds each game.

Joel Embiid goes up for a rebound. Photo: Chris Szagola / Associated Press

Joel Embiid goes up for a rebound. Photo: Chris Szagola / Associated Press

The 76ers had the NBA’s worst record (10-72) last season, but with the 22-year-old Embiid teaming up with two other young big men, Jahlil Okafor and Ben Simmons, who are both 20-years-old, there is a sense that Philadelphia’s fortunes are about to change for the better.

Simmons was the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but like Embiid, he broke a bone in his right foot and is not expected to play until January. Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James describes Simmons as “a great, young talent … and Philly should be excited to have him.”

Joel Embiid is a key piece in the rebuilding plans of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo: Chris Szagola / Associated Press

Joel Embiid is a key piece in the rebuilding plans of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo: Chris Szagola / Associated Press

Philly fans are also excited to finally see Joel Embiid on the court.

The 76ers picked Embiid third overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, after he played one season at the University of Kansas.

The top pick in that draft was Andrew Wiggins, who was Embiid’s teammate at Kansas.

Wiggins won the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year award and has averaged almost 19 points a game in two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If he can stay healthy, Joel Embiid should emerge as a strong candidate for the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year award, and a franchise player for a struggling club that won its last championship in 1983 when Hall of Famers Moses Malone and Julius “Dr. J” Erving were the big stars.

 

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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