Lets start with the bad news. Joel Embiid will not be fully unleashed this season — at least according to head coach Brett Brown and recent media reports.
“Brown said he does not think Embiid’s minutes restriction will be increased from 28 this season,” CSN Philly’sJessica Cameratoreported Tuesday.
Thepotential All-Star center has been setting records and posting incredible statistics throughout his rookie season. After posting 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a recent win against the Bucks (their sixth in eight games),Embiid became the first player in NBA history to have ninestraight games scoring 20 or moreafter playing less than 30 minutes.
Fans have been waiting anxiously for Embiid to be taken “off the leash” and allowed to play the number of minutes a superstar should. And so arehis teammates.
The reasoning for his limited minutes makes sense. The team does not want to risk Embiid reinjuring his twice worked on foot that forced him to miss two NBA seasons. They don’t expect to contend for a playoff spot, so will continue to take it slow.
Embiid has a remarkable plus-48 mark when on the floor for the 13-26 Sixers. As a team, the squad is second to last in the NBA in plus-minus, getting outscored by nearly six points per game and by 229 points overall this season. That’s a pretty impressive number.
The seven-footer is doing it on both sides of the floor. Embiidholds opponents to the lowest shooting percentagein the NBA on shots within six feet of the rim (42.5 percent). His ability to change the game defensively is rivaled only by his impressive scoring output. According to ESPN, Embiid is scoring more points per minute than any rookie since Wilt Chamberlain 1959-60, and would average 28 points per game over a regular 36 minutes.
Whether Embiid could continue this output over the course of an entire season (he has played in only 28 of 39 games so far), it appears, won’t be seen until next season.