Draft Preview Vol. 1: Joel Embiid

Draft day is coming in the next couple of months so I thought it would be cool to do a profile on potential NBA hopefuls for those who may not watch much of college basketball. I tried doing a summary with the last post but some people didn’t like that. So for this post I decided to do my own scouting report by watching a lot of highlight reels and portions of games. Hopefully this is better appreciated but just know that we still appreciate the feedback, even if it comes with a bit of a sting. Anyways as you read these profiles either think about or comment about what team you would like to see Joel Embiid because it will come into play in a couple of weeks when we continue the draft preview 2014 series.  Hope you guys enjoy

Joel Embiid
(Photo by USA Today)

Joel Embiid


Joel Embiid at 7’0 and 250 has NBA scouts salivating. The other Jay Hawk that is eventually NBA bound is making a lot of noise in college basketball because of what he can bring to an NBA team. This kid is a major threat- At 7’0 he has various skill sets that are not found in a typical center. Lets start with his most notable skill, his defense starts with his length. With a 7’5 wingspan, Embiid uses every freaking inch of it. This guy swats basketballs  as if he thinks he is playing volleyball and does so in emphatic fashion. Averaging 2.6 blocks a game, the guy makes it really hard to make a lay up. It doesn’t help that he is really athletic too. For a center Joel can get up there and I mean up there.

Embiid block
Embiid Contesting a shot at the rim


The combination of his height and hoops allow his team to force teams to pass out of a shot or shoot long distance shots. Along with being a great shot blocker, Embiid does a great job of contesting shots, whether it be around the rim or facing up a defender. Embiid’s quick feet force defenders to shoot over him, which is pretty hard, or drive to the hoop, which is also pretty hard. Along with that, Embiid has very good defensive awareness. He understands when offenders are driving and is very aware of where the ball is. This is most noted when players are driving to the hoop, Embiid is smart enough to know when to sag to help and when to stay on the man he is currently guarding. When he does help, he makes a living hell for who ever is in the paint. This is what teams what in a center – somebody who is going to change the physicality of your defense.This season Joel’s Defensive rating 90.9 which was 1st in the Big 12. He was 3rd in blocks (72) and 2nd in blocks percentage(11.7%) in the Big 12 as well. Stats aside, it doesn’t take long to see the hustle he puts into every play. His hustle and skill is what makes him good, and his young age and ability to grow is going to make him better.

Along with being a good defender, Embiid is pretty good on the offensive side of the ball as well. For starters, he has very good ball handling skills for his size. The first thing that came to mind when watching Joel play was his ball handling skills for a 7’0. Embiid is not afraid to take the ball up the court and for some plays will facilitate the offense when the play breaks down and he has the ball. He is also very good in the paint. He has an incredible ability to maneuver around the paint. Remember, he is 7’0. To compare him to player with a similar body type, think about if Chris Bosh could dribble as well as a shooting forward and attack the basket like a shooting guard. That is a scary player. Embiid causes serious match up problems too because of his speed and agility. What he lacks in weight he defiantly makes up in footwork, athleticism, and offensive awareness. When he posts up, he can either muscle his way to the paint. Give him the ball at the top of the key and watch him drive to the basket. Give him too much space and you will end up on a poster because he gets up there for the alley-oop.  He can also spread the floor and run the length of the court.  He is always dangerous if you give him too much space around the top of the key because he can shoot the long  2 as well. All this explains why his field goal percentage was 62.6%.  He has decent court vision being able to make crisp passes and it helps that he attracts along of attention of the defense with double teams, allowing teammates to cut to the basket or shoot an open 3. He is a tenacious and aggressive rebounder averaging 8.1 RPG and roughly 30% of them were offensive rebounds. To say the least, Joel is going  to be an effective part of what ever team he ends up on.

There are a lot of reports that Joel may not enter the draft, and that won’t be the worst thing for him if he doesn’t. Unlike Parker, Joel is pretty raw and there needs to be some refining done so that he can be utilized quickly when he gets into the NBA. Some things about his game that stuck out to me was that he does not set picks that often, and when he does they are not very strong. The other is one I mentioned before in that he is very skinny for a center. How well will he match up against other centers in the league like Howard and Hibbert?  Whatever team Joel ends up on may not give him the starting position right away and he may have to come off the bench until he becomes more acclimated to the NBA. Regardless, any team would love to have him and mold him into an All-Star which I believe he has the potential to do so. The biggest concern right for Embiid is the back injury that hindered him before the tourney. Immediately i think of centers like Bynum and Oden, who showed great promise in college but due to injuries (and for Bynum just being a whiny man-child), have had their NBA careers stunted by stressing their injuries. If anything teams will take note and think about how Oden’s injuries set that team back at a time when they where growing. Injuries aside, I hope this guy stays healthy because he is incredibly fun to watch. If you don’t believe me, check out this highlight reel below.


So Post Up Readers, what NBA team do you think would benefit from having Embiid, regardless of draft order?

All stats were obtained from espn.com and sports-reference.com







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