Joel Embiid is back, y’all. Shortly (suspiciously?) after he signed his five-year, $148 million extensions with the Philadelphia 76ers, Embiid made his 2017-18 NBA debut on Wednesday night in a preseason matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. It wasn’t without suspense, though. An ill-timed shot clock malfunction caused a pretty lengthy tipoff delay, forcing 76ers fans to wait just a little bit longer before watching Embiid’s return to the hardwood.
Embiid drew a foul on his first offensive possession thanks to a Ben Simmons entry pass. He then proceeded to knock down the first bucket for the 76ers on his first shot, an open jumper from the wing.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. Embiid and J.J. Redick hilariously miscommunicated on a simple pick-and-pop, showing there’s still some work to be done before everyone’s on the same page. Trust The Process, etc.
In the interest of safety, 76ers head coach Brett Brown subbed Embiid out after a few minutes. For his first stint since undergoing successful minor arthroscopic surgery to address a meniscus tear in his left knee in March, it’s hard to look at this outing as anything other than a success.
When he returned later on in the first half, we got to witness Embiid cut off a drive on one end, then run the floor for a cutting and-1 on the other. Welcome back, JoJo.
The fun didn’t stop there. Embiid showed off his defensive awareness by blocking this Allen Crabbe shot to the moon.
Embiid started feeling himself from there, and for good reason. He’s a basketball monster. Oh, and he can shoot it from Stephen Curry range.
For those keeping track at home, we’ve got Embiid blocking shots like Dikembe Mutombo, shooting threes like Stephen Curry, and fading away on one leg like Dirk Nowitzki. How’s that for a skill set?
And finally, adding insult to injury, Embiid told the world what we already knew. You can’t ******* guard him.
Embiid finished the first half with 20 points and 7 rebounds on 50% shooting. You’re never allowed to get injured again, Joel.