Joel Embiid is the leader — very early — in the running for NBA Rookie of the Year.
What he’s been able to do in limited minutes with a rag-tag team of inexperienced ball players is extremely impressive.
In their third loss of the season Tuesday, by two to the equally lowly Orlando Magic, Embiid had his first double-double, posting 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Early in the game he was dynamic and the offense ran through him.
Late in the game, he wasn’t as impressive. He really lived up to his nickname “The Process.”
As the Sixers blew an 18-point second half lead, Embiidhad a chance to be a hero as Philly held the ball in a tie game with just second left. A failed dribble handoff led to a turnover, an intentional foul and a two-point setback.
“Next time when we have the lead like that we have to be ready to play,” Embiid said, visiblydown on himself after the loss.
“I feel like we’re seeing Jo try to get his balance and his hands; he just hasn’t played for so long. And we’re seeing that tonight, kind of all over the place,” head coach BrettBrown said. “I see Joel fatiguing right now quickly. He goes three, four minutes and you can just sort of see it in his game and in his face, and so we sit him. Tonight, we were able to get 24 minutes out of it and tried to do it in different sections. I’m happy the way that played out. We had him on the court when we needed to.”
Embiid was seen talking to a ref after ever negative call, whether it be a turnover or a foul, to learn what he needs to do better.
As his minutes increase so will the responsibilities Philly puts on him. He’ll sit Wednesday night when the Sixers play Charlotte in the second game of a back-to-back but he’ll be back on the floor Saturday to host the defending champion Cavaliers.