Philadelphia, PA – Third-year member of the 76ers Joel Embiid stepped on the court in a competitive setting for the first time since 2014 yesterday, but the talented, yet raw, center showed he has miles to go before he reaches his true potential.
He showed his lack of experience throughout practice, scrambling to defend pick and rolls all morning, biting on every pump fake in the post, and struggling to find grip on the hardwood court due to wearing metal cleats to practice.
“He’s got a long way to go,” Head Coach Brett Brown told reporters Wednesday morning. He turned his attention back to the court, watching Embiid comically spin his feet as he tried to run up court, his cleats “click-clacking” hilariously through the gym.
“We’re seeing progress though. His first practice he was dribbling the ball with two hands and only taking set shots. At one point he looked at the three-point line and asked us what it was. But, I will say that ever since we got him an NBA rule book he seems to be catching on.”
Embiid acknowledged his struggles and said he was still a work in progress at this point in the season.
“Sure it’s going to take some time, but I think patience is key. Hey, did you know they used to play this game by throwing a ball into a peach basket? Sounds wild,” Embiid said, reading the Wikipedia page on “Basketball.”
“Just look at my progress with this ball of the basket,” he said, picking up a nearby volleyball that had been left in the gym and kicking it across the court.
“Now that’s a real buzzer beater, if you ask me. Homerun.”
At press time, Embiid said he would be staying late after practice to work on his two-minute drill with Coach Brown.