For those of you in NBA keeper leagues who have been eliminated from your playoffs, it’s the perfect time to grab Joel Embiid as your consolation prize. After a single season at Kansas, Embiid was drafted 3rd overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. 2 years worth of foot complications later and Joel has become somewhat of a forgotten man… at least if you’re lucky, anyway. Embiid has yet to play a single game in the NBA and in most leagues he’s been dropped and left for dead. However, Embiid recently returned from a second trip to the Aspetar facility, an orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital in Qatar, where he endured a very detailed and thorough rehabilitation program. According to coach Brett Brown via CSNPhilly.com, the visit had as much to do with lifestyle as it did basketball:
“It was sort of a smorgasbord of everything you would think,” Brown said. “From diet assessment, really planning and talking about food and his diet, the number of meals and portion sizes … things to do with his foot as far as bone density and massage therapy and expected soreness from time-to-time … education on his sleep habits, his sleep patterns. On-court work with skill development … forming a simple but skilled package environment on an actual court.”
“Leaving that and going into the weight room, continuing to develop his body. Doing things with just normal plyometrics and stretching so that the flexibility comes back in because he hasn’t done too much in a few years. It’s not like you’re dealing with a conditioned athlete — he hasn’t done a lot in the past few years so we’re responsible in how we deliver him to those movement aspects of playing basketball again. … It’s very holistic, very smorgasbord-like, all over the place, all designed to his health.”
The 7 footer returned looking very nimble, while also displaying a very sweet and accurate stroke. The video below shows Embiid during a 9 minute pregame workout just 12 days before his 22nd birthday on March 4th before the 76ers played the Miami Heat. If you want to skip ahead, I’ll save you the trouble and let you know that he sinks about 80 to 90% of his shots, including an overwhelming majority of his around-the-horn 3 point attempts. Of course there are no defenders in this workout, but it’s impressive to see the big man displaying mobility and such a soft touch nonetheless. Rumblings out of Philly are that Jahlil Okafor will be traded to open the door for Embiid now that he’s creeping his way back to full health. If he’s available on your keeper league waiver wire, it’s time to snatch him up as your consolation prize. If he looks this good now, imagine how he’ll look on your squad in October.