As I type this, it is late in the second quarter of the first preseason game of Joel Embiid’s “third season,” which is punctuated that way because Embiid, the No. 3 pick of the 2014 draft, has never played in an NBA game.
But what you saw, before the injuries started, was a dream big man, the sort of big man who is, sure, 7 feet tall and 250 pounds and, yes, bounds up and down the floor like a deer, and, indeed, has a nice touch, yet is still somehow greater than the sum of his parts. The kind of big man you and your dad could both agree on.
That was the imagination, and we all saw it at Kansas, but never in the NBA. Until now.
He dribbled himself into the post like a big guard.
He erased a dunk.
He hit what might as well have been a 3.
The plan was to limit Embiid to 12 minutes. He played 13 in the first half and went 2-for-6 with six points, four rebounds and two blocks.
But who cares about stats at this point. Look at that guy. That’s the guy. That’s the big man of your dreams.