By: Joe Cardoso
If there is one thing most sports fans can agree on it’s that we are a very superstitious bunch. We believe in curses, lucky underwear, Game day rituals and more. So in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers, the cruse was thought to be alive and well, this team hadn’t done anything since the great Allen Iverson called it quits. In the 2014 NBA draft, they picked Joel Embiid a 7’0 250 pound monster from Kansas even though Embiid missed a chunk of the season with a stress fracture in his back. But based on his numbers and buzz from the games he did play he declared for the draft. Things got better he broke a bone in his foot and missed his entire rookie year. Oh, man was the 76ers curse back? Sure seemed like it when a CT scan showed the foot wasn’t healing right and ANOTHER surgery was needed and he missed ANOTHER entire season. Well, Embiid was on the shelf the 76ers got lucky and had the number one pick in the 2016 draft and used it on Ben Simmons a 6’10 Magic Johnson like forward out of LSU and from Australia. While in summer league he rolled an ankle which turned out to be a broken bone in his foot and he missed the ENTIRE 2016 season. YIKES?!?! This team couldn’t get it right at all. Fast forward shall we.
Check The Numbers:
17.8 ppg 9.2 rebounds 7.5 assists
20.4 ppg 10.8 rebounds 3.2 assists
Here we are November 2017 with BOTH players playing and making a name for themselves and this team by trusting the process. It is so fun to watch the two of them grow together and figure it out on the court. Embiid is a beast on the block and has added an outside touch to draw defenders away from the basket. He also lacks ZERO fear in talking trash or mixing it up with anyone. Not to mention he is a social media star. Give him a follow @JoelEmbiid.The scary thing is he’s still learning the game and picks up things fast. Whoever said the age of big men is over may want to drive up 95, it’s a different type of big man, yes but they still matter in the game of basketball. The Embiid and Simmons pick and roll leaves coaches awake at night and people like me watching the highlights over and over. Two things I’ve seen from Joel is he needs to improve his conditioning and I’ve read issues with knee soreness. Both of this issues will improve over time and the best part is he is playing and doing so at a high level.
Simmons like most young players (John Wall, Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James) needs to develop a consistent jumper and down the road a three-point shot. But he is so big and sees the floor so well that it’s not exposed that much yet. He has the ability to see plays before they happen and is a willing passer which in me, me, me world of sports you love to see and embrace it. In the meantime, he gets to the bucket when he wants and how he wants using his size and skill. He also is a matchup issue with every other point guard he plays. You also can see he is starting to develop a leadership role on the squad.And did I mention he is playing POINT GUARD at his height? This kid is scary good and we are only seeing a preview of what’s to come for Mr. Simmons.
At the end of the day their combo of freak athleticism and positive attitude I can’t think of a more fun duo in the NBA and maybe in all of sports right now. Looks like trusting the process was worth the wait for Sixers fans. The rest of the team isn’t that bad either and I see them making the playoffs and not going out without a fight. Teams like the Celtics and Wizards should be on the lookout for the storm that’s coming from Philly. Perhaps these two can make some fans give up on all our superstitions. Highly doubtful