Caveat: Most every player in the NBA looks like all-world working on air, and Joel Embiid is honing a move – under the guidance of highly-regarded trainer Drew Hanlen, who you really should be following on Instagram – that tailors specifically to his strengths. This isn’t an indication of imminent stardom, let alone foolproof evidence that the Philadelphia 76ers’ perpetually-sidelined big man will finally make his long-awaited debut in the 2016-17 season opener.
But holy hell. When was the last time you saw a player of Embiid’s size move with such grace and quickness? This is the natural ability that made the former Kansas product a shoo-in for the No. 1 overall pick back in 2014 before a navicular fracture in his right foot caused him to slip to the Sixers at third overall behind Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
Rumors of Embiid’s eye-popping performance during light workouts with Philadelphia have been whispered for a while. If he can ever get on the floor and stay off the training table, it seems the Sixers have another potential superstar to pair with 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons.
Those qualifiers are big, of course. We’ve been waiting on Embiid for over two years. But there’s finally some legitimate optimism about basketball in Philadelphia, and clips like this are a reminder that the 7’2 ballerina should be the cause of it as much as any of his teammates.