Since the beginning of this season, everyone within the basketball realm have been witnessing “The Process” aka Joel Embiid take the league by storm. In 2014, Embiid was drafted 3rd overall to the Philadelphia 76ers regardless of suffering a lower back injury during his freshman year of college at Kansas University. Fast forward through a couple more injury setbacks and 2 seasons later, Embiid and the 76ers expect everybody to “trust the process” long-awaited to see lead to unravel into success. In Joel’s NBA debut on the night of the 2016-2017 season tip-off, he contributed 20 points, 7 rebounds in just 22 minutes. But it was more about the energy he provided his teammates and the fans in the Wells Fargo Center. It was a rejuvenated vibe unfelt in that arena since Allen Iverson was starring for the Sixers franchise. The 76ers lost that night to the Thunder but the team gained the confidence necessary for them to consistently improve together.
Fast Forward to today, the injury-riddled Embiid has endured another season-ending injury with a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Rookie-Of-The-Year favorite has been sidelined since January 27th due to a bruised-bone that has then revealed the meniscus tear after the bone swelling subsided. In the 31 games Embiid has played this year the 76ers have gone 13-18. Without Embiid they have gone 10-21. A 3-game difference may not do Embiid’s impact justice. But think about this. He is averaging 20 PPG, 7 RPG, and 2.5 BPG leading the team in all of those categories while averaging just 25.4 minutes per game. His player efficiency rating is 24.33 which is 1st in his team and 14th in the league. The next highest PER on the 76ers belongs to Richaun Holmes with an 18.1 per which is ranked 67th in the league. For Embiid to be the most used efficient player with the highest usage rating while playing the 3rd highest amount of minutes per game on his team is what speaks volumes for how valuable he is to this Sixers team that kept him around for a couple of years. Imagine if he was healthy enough to put his all into every game without worry of another injury.
The city of Philadelphia showed their patience “trusting the process” and they will soon be rewarded. I am a believer that the Cameroon native will bounce back from this and his rough start in the NBA will be worth the fruition of success he receives from his hard work and determination to get his body completely healthy en route of silencing all doubters. When Embiid is back and ready to go, a load of work will automatically be taken off his shoulder as Ben Simmons will be back from his own foot injury that ended his rookie campaign before it begun. These two young players have the potential to become a pair of All-Stars together that can bring this franchise back to the playoffs after multiple seasons of tanking. I do not think Embiid’s career will last for 10 more years although, while he’s around I would say it is indeed still safe to “trust the process” because the 22-year old can indubitably ball out on both ends of the floor. Along with Ben Simmons, the 76ers could have another supreme duo in the league within 2-3 years.