Can The 7-Foot-2, 276-Pound Joel Embiid Actually Be The ‘Crown Jewel’ Of The Sixers’ Defense?

By: 09.16.16

USA TODAY Sports

Can you hear the distant song? It’s ringing through the foothills around Philadelphia, and it’s a hopeful melody accompanied by the words, “Trust the process.” That’s right, with the start of training camp about ten days away, Joel Embiid is still on track to participate fully in camp, then in preseason games starting October 4, then, IF ALL GOES WELL, the regular season opener on October 26 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. And if you’ve been doing your best to temper your expectations, then head coach Brett Brown is here to let your imagination run wild.

“He needs to be the crown jewel, the centerpiece to our defense,” Brown told reporters, adding later, “I think he’s a rim protector.” It makes sense, considering that Embiid is 7-foot-2 and over 270 pounds, but Nerlens Noel has proved over the past two years that he is a legitimately elite defender, and no one would have been surprised if Brown had kept Noel as the “centerpiece,” and brought Embiid along slowly. And yet, he appears to be pulling out all of the stops. Well, most of them — minutes restrictions will still be in place.

Jahlil Okafor is still on the squad, and Dario Saric has arrived as well — and there’s this other tall guy called Ben Simmons — so the biggest question facing the Sixers remains huge — how do you distribute all the big man minutes? An Embiid-Noel front line could be elite defensively right off the bat, and Embiid finished his Kansas career with one of the most diverse offensive games you’ll see from a big man, so the possibilities are endless. The Sixers might actually be fun this year!

(Via CSN Philly)

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