Last Wednesday, the Philadelphia Sixers faced the Los Angeles Lakers. There was great anticipation for the game due to the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball. The Sixers duo—Embiid and Simmons—has voiced their opinion on Ball’s father and looked forward to this meeting. While Simmons put up an impressive triple double, it was Joel Embiid who had a greater impact, making history in the process.
Joel Embiid managed to secure a spot in NBA history through his unbelievable statline by scoring 46 points (14 of 20 shooting) to go along with with 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks. What is most impressive of his statline is that Embiid was able to accomplish such feat in only 34 minutes. A statline with 40-plus points and at least 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks was last achieved by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His stats came with the help of four overtimes. That was not the only history made on Wednesday. In team history, Embiid became the first to score 40 points since Allen Iverson dropped 46 against Chicago on Nov. 24, 2006. As a Sixers fan, it exciting to know that there are many more historic performances in store for Embiid.
After Embiid’s marvelous performance, many reporters were quick to suggest that Embiid is officially on his way to a hall of fame career. Rachel Nichols of The Jump not only compared him to the great Hakeem Olajuwon but claimed that he is already better than Hakeem.
Now, hold up.
Embiid who has played a mere 45 games in his NBA career of four seasons has a lot more to prove before he can even be mentioned in the same conversation as Hakween. No doubt that Embiid is great, but his health is the major question. If Embiid is able to stay healthy and play an entire season, we might get to see his true potential. In the small sample size, it is transparent that the Sixers are a complete different team when Embiid is on the court. In fact, the Sixers outscored rival teams by 8.7 points per 100 possessions when Embiid plays, a net rating that would place third overall, just behind the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. Embiid has a defensive rating of 99.7, 16th best in the NBA; he also has a 33.5 usage rate, fifth best in the league.
Embiid is not Hakeem, but he is on the path to something special—we just don’t how special.