Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Let’s Enjoy Joel Embiid While We Can

November 15th, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, Lakers, NBA

It is fun when we discover a new sports star/superstar.

Just when we get conditioned to the usual roster of the elite, boom, there he is: Another potentially great player.

Which is where Joel Embiid comes in.

Embiid is a 7-footer with quickness, dexterity and a fine shooting touch who plays center for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Like many NBA big men, he has endured a series of injuries, the most serious of which have been to his feet.

A native of Cameroon discovered by countryman Luc Mbah a Moute, the former UCLA Bruin, Embiid was drafted by the 76ers in June of 2014, after playing in 28 games in his single season at the University of Kansas.

Embiid did not actually appear in an NBA game for the following two seasons.

He lost 2014-15 to surgery on the navicular bone in his right foot; he lost 2015-16 to a second surgery on the navicular bone in his right foot.

He got through 31 games, his first since college, in 2016-17 before knee surgery stopped him cold at the all-star-game break.

But now he is back … and showing what he can do.

When healthy.

That was Embiid who nuked the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, scoring 46 points with 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks.

Have a look at the video. This is a guy scoring in just about every way possible, in part because he can see and shoot over most everybody, at 7 feet. In part because he has advanced motor skills.

Sure, he can score just about anytime he wants, in the paint, but he also can make his free throws (16-for-19 against the Lakers) as well as knock down a couple of threes.

More Embiid stuff?

He is fun to be around. He likes poking fun and kidding and jokes. He’s a social media guy. He entertains teammates and reporters — and fans.

There is a joy to his game, perhaps stemming from the two-plus NBA seasons he has missed because of injury.

The 76ers recognize what they have, in Embiid, and want to nurse as much production from him as they can. They closely track his minutes and they also give him the occasional game off; the Sixers have played 14 games; Embiid has played in 12; the other two, he did not play at all.

What seems like such an upbeat story is, as usual, playing out beneath the shadow cast by the sad realities of fragile big men.

The human body is really not designed to support a 7-footer pounding away on a wooden floor; bones in the feet are particularly at risk, and the navicular bone is one of the most delicate. Navicular breaks ended the career of Yao Ming and shortened the careers of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Marc Gasol and Brendan Haywood.

Because Embiid already has a history with the navicular, a sense of looming disaster is hard to shake. When will this joyful, skilled player break down again? How long will he have before he is out again?

We do not know. We can wish him well. At the same time, we probably should not miss a chance to see him play, while we can and while he can.



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment