Joel Embiid was a revelation for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, as he burst onto the scene with a scintillating rookie season. After two years on the shelf, Embiid finally delivered on his immense promise and showed he could be a force in the NBA for a long time. The bad news? He only played in 31 games and now it looks like he’s headed for yet another surgery, this time to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.
Embiid missed his first two seasons thanks to a recurring foot injury that refused to heal properly. After being selected with the third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Kansas product underwent multiple surgeries to repair the navicular bone in his right foot, but continued to have issues. This year he was finally healthy and made his debut on October 26, 2016, more than two years after he was drafted.
Embiid made an immediate impact, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. He also kept getting better as the season went on, as he averaged 23.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.6 blocks in January, the last month in which he played. He was improving steadily and his PER of 24.29 currently ranks 14th in the NBA ahead of guys like Stephen Curry (23.83), Damian Lillard (23.57), Kyrie Irving (23.31), John Wall (22.82) and Gordon Hayward (22.44). In short, Embiid is a huge part of whatever the Sixers are planning to do in the future.
The fact that Embiid has played just 31 games out of a potential 246 games in his career is truly awful. The guy has so much potential and has a colorful personality to match his basketball talent. He could be a star both on and off the court. Unfortunately, for either of those things to happen he has to stay healthy and that hasn’t happened.
Hopefully this isn’t too serious and he can find a way to stay on the court next season. The Sixers and the NBA both need him.