Joel Embiid Playing Top Defense Minutes in Playoffs
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Joel Embiid Playing Top Defense Minutes in Playoffs

Joel Embiid was just a sophomore in college when he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. While some called him the best player available, others still had their doubts. Embiid only played one season at point guard for the UK may have been a concern for some, but his ability to score on the wing is what helped him reach the NBA.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at Joel Embiid and what teams might have been interested in him if he had stayed in college and been a Kentucky Wildcat point guard.

Joel Embiid enters this NBA season having established himself as one of the more impressive low-post players in league history. During his breakout junior year in which he averaged a career-high 42 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out three assists per game, many were surprised to see him average only 20 minutes per game at Kentucky. This included time at point guard, where he often got double-teamed and had to play on defense most of the time.

Injuries, including a broken ankle during the NCAA tournament and a torn groin muscle, suffered in the Summer Olympics, caused many to question whether Embiid would ever be able to produce on the same level as Kentucky’s seniors such as Julius Randle, Kentucky’s point guard tandem of Darius Miller and Billy Gillispie, as well as potential lottery, picks like Andrew Bogut and future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan.

Although Embiid came into the NBA with only real experience playing at the point guard position, many league teams are using more of their bench in different roles this season. Most recently, Toronto added P.J. Tucker and Gary Patterson as two rotation pieces after shipping point guards Greco McLellan to the Brooklyn Nets. Tucker and Patterson’s acquisition gives coach Tex Winter something to think about when it comes to their depth at the point guard position.

Will Embiid have enough time at the center to create a good match up for rookies DeRozan and Bynum? The Toronto media seemed to think so, even laughing aloud on a recent podcast when asked about how the acquisition of Tucker and Patterson will affect Embiid’s ability to play center: “I think it’s going to hurt him at the center position. I don’t think anybody is mailing anything but Joel Embiid.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Ben handwriting mentioned that the Cameroon product would be one of the best-paid players in the NBA this summer. That has a lot to do with his trade value, but it also has a lot to do with how he’s been playing lately. Before this season, Joel Embiid had never been a quality defensive player. He also often struggled on offense.

However, since joining the Toronto bench in the middle of the season, he’s become one of the league’s best defensemen. If he can continue to play at that level, there’s no telling whether he’ll be playing in Toronto past this season or into next year as one of the best-paid players in the league.

Even if he does end up playing another season for the Philly Flyers, the six-year veteran should still have enough left on his contract to get him to thirty-one years old. Now that his trade value has risen, however, you can expect that number to rise even higher in the coming year and beyond. In a league where youth is always becoming an ever-present concern, the addition of Joel Embiid to the Philadelphia Phillies should make other clubs interested in acquiring him sooner rather than later.

Joel Embiid was a second-round pick (or, possibly, a fourth-rounder) by the Boston Bruins in the 2021 draft. He fell to the Flyers in the seventh round due to reports that said he had a softball injury in his knee. Philadelphia used him strictly as a center, and his two-year career with the Bruins was cut short due to his inability to stay healthy on the ice.

So it’s no wonder why he was so high on the prospect list for teams in the Big Ten, speaking with many scouts and executives before the draft. As a result, Joel Embiid ended up going just one pick ahead of Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh Penguins and became one of the biggest steals in the draft.

There is no doubt that Joel Embiid has all of the physical skills necessary to play at an elite level. He’s a powerful skater and is an extremely reliable shot-blocker who moves to the boards with the ease of a big-time power forward. But beyond that, Embiid has shown that he can do more than dominate at the skill positions.

During the last season for the Philadelphia Flyers, Joel Embiid also showed what he could do as a defensive-defenseman, a force on the puck, and an emphasis on the ice – all while playing a crucial role on the team as their number 1 center.

Joel Embiid will most certainly end up being a top player in the upcoming season. His development and improvements have been nothing short of spectacular. He’s shown a willingness to do more than he’s done in the past and has shined in big games against some of the biggest names in the NHL.

When Joel Embiid steps into the Verizon Center for matches against the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens, you’ll be looking to see what he can do against the very best players in the league. For a player who just turned 22, this could be a great year.

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