The debut of Joel Embiid has been well anticipated ever since getting drafted and even though fans waited two years to watch him touch the NBA court, he hasn’t disappointed one bit. He has shown that he has the capabilities of doing it all on the court. The hype surrounding Embiid has been loud through two weeks but its been warranted because he has dominated through the first two weeks of the season.
Joel Embiid is averaging 18.5 points per game shooting .480% from the field while also averaging 6.8 rebounds per game. These numbers are superb especially considering that he’s on a minute restriction and only playing about 22 minutes per game. He’s taken the NBA by storm and has surprised many people. One of those people being Patrick Ewing, who had very high praise of Embiid (via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer):
Then Clifford told a story about watching preseason game film of Embiid in his office. Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, a Hall of Fame center, walked in and said “Whoa!”
Ewing told Clifford that Embiid could very well be the most talented center in the league.
“And if you know Patrick, especially at that position, he doesn’t say stuff like that,” Clifford said. “I mean, he can shoot. He can put the ball on the floor. He can pass. He’s got a feel for the game. He’s got toughness, size, and strength
Those are very high words coming from one of the best centers to play the game. However, these words might have come too prematurely being that we have some other talented centers playing in the league. I understand that sometimes we get clouded by the moment and on occasion get too wrapped up in the “lack of traditional big men” conversation but it’s kind of disrespectful to immediately put Joel Embiid over some of these other centers.
The two centers that currently hold that top spot are DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns in my opinion. Despite all the non-basketball stuff that Cousins does to distract viewers from his game, he’s still one hell of a ball player. He’s a big, strong center that has a traditional style of play but can still stretch the floor and put the ball on the floor. Cousins is a nightmare to match-up against because he’s just purely dominant.
And then when you look at Karl-Anthony Towns, there’s not much that he can’t do and the scary thing is that he’s only in the second year of his career. A lot of people are high on the Towns train which is the main reason why he was voted as the number one pick to start a team around. He’s great in the post and can handle the ball like a guard. Also, he plays the game with great efficiency. During his rookie year he averaged 18.3 points per game shooting .542% from the field and .341% from three and this year he’s averaging 22.4 points per game shooting .537% from the field and .500% from three. It doesn’t get much better than that from your 2nd year center.
Joel Embiid is having an incredible year but I believe its too soon to put him over these two guys. The talent level of Cousins and Towns is sky high when you look at how versatile they are. Only 4 games in, Embiid still has a lot to prove. I know the hype is real and we’re excited about finally getting to see him play but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.