[youtube video=”Q95Z6wH_y04″ /]
In three games of this young NBA season, Joel Embiid has slowly but surely made his presence felt. Appearing on NBA courts for the first time, the 7-foot big man, who missed his first two seasons due to injury, is using his length and defensive prowess to block almost three shots a game, exciting many people who hoped he would become a strong rim protector.
Working out with trainer Drew Hanlen with summer, Embiid spent hours honing the skills that he believes will make him a force in the middle for the Philadelphia 76ers for years to come.
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“I’ve always felt like I put defense first,” Embiid said. “As a big man and a center, you need to be that defensive centerpiece, and that’s what [the 76ers] need me to be, and that’s what I’m going to be.”
What’s truly been a joy to watch, though, is the blossoming of Embiid’s offensive game. He’s averaging 17.3 points per game, and the hours he put in with Hanlen working on his game from the mid-post are already paying major dividends in the regular season. He’s even shot 2-of-5 from deep.
“I’ve been working a lot of my offensive game, too,” Embiid said over the summer. “I’m going to finally get the chance to showcase it and I can’t wait.”
Check out all of Embiid’s off-season work in the video above.