Like every Bahamian basketball fan, I too want “Buddy” to break out of this dreaded shooting slump that he’s in, erupt for a few 40 point games and silence his critics by winning the coveted NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
While hoping is all well and good, there’s one, 7-foot, 250-pound obstacle that’s daily making that less and less of a possibility.
The play of Philadelphia 76ers rookie Joel Embiid has been absolutely brilliant so far this season, and unless something drastic takes place, he’s going to run away with this year’s ROY award.
Through four games so far, Embiid is averaging 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3 assists, while shooting 48 percent from the field. He’s shown the ability to knock down the three-point shot and he gets up and down the court as fast as any big man in the league.
Despite the fact that Sixers are still winless on the season, Embiid has given them a reason to hope. In Saturday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the only undefeated team left in the NBA, Embiid had his best game of the season. He put up 22 points in 25 minutes and appeared to be too much for the Cavs’ big men to handle. He also had four blocks, two of them on Lebron James, and came up with clutch baskets down the stretch.
In his short time as a starter, Embidd has come up big against some of the league’s best big men, including a 20-point game against Steven Adams (OKC), 14 points in 15 minutes against Dwight Howard (ATL), and 18 against the duo of Vucevic and Ibaka (ORL).
Although the season is long and unpredictable, the eye test doesn’t lie, and it’s clear to see that Embiid is the real deal.
Despite being on minutes restriction and not being able to play back to back’s as yet, Embiid is still ranked number one on Kia’s Rookie Ladder up to this point. And as long as he stays healthy, the sky’s the limit for this generational big.