For years, the Philadelphia 76ers asked their fans to “trust the process” as they toiled through several brutal seasons in the hopes of acquiring high draft picks. It was one of the more extreme rebuilding strategies the NBA had ever seen. One of those picks turned into Joel Embiid, the former Kansas Jayhawk who spent his first two seasons on the sidelines dealing with lingering foot and back injuries. Finally healthy this season, Embiid has quickly proved that he was worth the wait—and that trusting the process can bear some of the sweetest fruit.
Playing on a minutes restriction and sitting out all back-to-backs, Embiid has still managed to average 20.2 points and almost 8 rebounds per game in just over 25 minutes on the court. Extrapolate those numbers to 36 minutes a night, and Embiid’s play gets even more impressive, as he would potentially average 28.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, a walking double-double. But what’s maybe most exciting about Embiid is a part of his game that’s quietly getting better every night: his ability to step out and drain 3’s.
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Embiid has taken 98 3-pointers in 31 games, knocking down 36 of them, good for about 37 percent, a fantastic number for a man whose game is largely played closer to the rim. He’s got a sweet shooting stroke, and a recent video from 76ers practice proves that given the opportunity, Embiid could become one of the best deep shooting big men in the NBA.
Embiid effortlessly drains eight of nine 3’s from the top of the arc, which has been his sweet spot during the season. He’s taken 97.2 percent of his 3-pointers from there, and it’s easy to see why. Once Embiid loses his minutes restrictions and starts playing back-to-backs, we fully expect to see his 3-point numbers explode.