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One of these years, maybe Joel Embiid will play for the 76ers

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Hey, remember Joel Embiid?

The 7-foot phenom used to play basketball at Kansas. Until a stress fracture in his back forced Embiid to miss the end of his freshman year with the Jayhawks. Then he left for the NBA, where he presumably would soon play the part of the league’s next great big man. But a stress fracture in his right foot wiped out his entire rookie season.

Don’t worry. You’ll finally get to see Embiid play in the NBA in 2015-16 for the Philadelphia 76ers. Actually, here’s the thing: the big man with so much upside reportedly re-broke that same foot, and the organization that drafted Embiid thinking he would become a star, now has concerns his injury history might threaten his career. The 76ers don’t even expect their potential franchise player to suit up one time in the coming season.

It really is a sad tale, because a healthy Embiid could be doing beautiful things on the basketball court — maybe even reminding NBA fans of a young Hakeem Olajuwon.

In photo at left, the Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon shoots over Utah’s Greg Ostertag (00) on May 29, 1997, in Houston. In right photo, Kansas big man Joel Embiid puts up a similar shot over Kansas State’s Thomas Gipson on Jan. 1 at Allen Fieldhouse.

In photo at left, the Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon shoots over Utah’s Greg Ostertag (00) on May 29, 1997, in Houston. In right photo, Kansas big man Joel Embiid puts up a similar shot over Kansas State’s Thomas Gipson on Jan. 1 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Instead, all the buzz around Embiid of late has been discouraging. Brian Geltzeiler recently released a scathing report for SI.com on the state of the Sixers, which prominently featured some rumored issues surrounding Embiid.

According to Geltzeiler, during the past year, Embiid:

  • threatened a 76ers strength coach on a road trip

  • often refused to answer questions from the organization’s training staff about rehab for his broken foot during his would-be rookie season

  • on multiple occasions didn’t wear the walking boot designed to help his foot heal, leading some in the organization to wonder if a second surgery this past summer could’ve been avoided

  • ignored a mandate to wear the walking boot ahead of his second surgery, delaying when that could take place

  • exhibited poor dietary habits, leading Philadelphia’s training staff to stock his refrigerator with healthy food — which typically went uneaten

  • had room service bills featuring junk food and “his signature beverage, a pitcher of Shirley Temples”

If all or most of that is true? … Yikes.

None by ☕netw3rk

For what it’s worth, Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown denied portions of the SI.com report and went as far as to say he has witnessed changes in Embiid.

None by Brian Seltzer

“I’m proud of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He’s had a rough few years of not playing and he will get there.”

Let’s just hope his NBA debut doesn’t get pushed back again in the 2016-17 season.


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Comments

Dee Shaw 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm sorry but Joel Embiid is an embarrassment to all of KU nation. God given talent and athleticism wasted away. What a shame.

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