Name: Joel Embiid
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
2016-17 Regular Season General Stats: 20.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.5 bpg, 46.6 FG%, 36.7 3PT%
2016-17 Regular Season Advanced Stats: 24.1 PER, 58.4 TS%, 1.9 WS, 0.0 OBPM, 3.2 DBPM, 1.0 VORP
How many times did any of us really think about the words “The process” when they were spoken before the Sixers and Joel Embiid embraced the motto? I’ll answer that for you. Almost never. Joel Embiid, after sitting out for two seasons, set NBA Twitter and the NBA world on fire when he finally hit the court this past season. His debut was much awaited by Philly fans and basketball fans alike. He definitely did not disappoint despite only playing 31 games throughout the season.
Now, for the naysayers that will exclaim “He didn’t even play half of the season, he shouldn’t be on this list!” Let’s talk some stats here. Did you realize that Embiid averages 28.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes? If you didn’t, then you probably didn’t realize that he’s also the ONLY player ever to obtain those stats. The closest player to get to that 36-minute stat line was Shaquille O’Neal who had 28.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes.
Instead of just looking at advanced stats compared to historical numbers, let’s take a quick look at an eye-popping stat from this past season. Embiid boasted a plus-minus of +11.6 while playing for a team that lost by an average of at least 6 points per game, and by a total of over 400 points. This wasn’t a good player on a bad team, this was a great player with the potential for more.
So, you’re probably asking, “Well if he’s this good, why is he ranked so low then?” Well, yes, he did only play 31 games in three seasons so far. His health is the only factor that’s holding him back from obtaining the stardom level that he wants. Playing 50+ games this coming year will be a major victory in and of itself for Joel Embiid. For basketball fans everywhere, we hope that training staff can do it.