NBA preseason games are not fun to watch, but when they give you the opportunity to see a singular talent whose appearances on the court are far too scarce, then it’s time to tune in. The 76ers’ Joel Embiid, ostensibly somewhat healthy, lent his game some value tonight when he hit the court for the first time since January.
Fresh off signing a cautiously enormous contract, Embiid rewarded our attention in his preseason debut against the Nets, putting up 22 points in just 15 minutes of action, along with seven boards and three assists. But the stats don’t matter right now—what everyone cares about is the highlights:
Obviously, it’s preseason, but Embiid did it all in his limited game action. He got that block above, he dished out passes over his opponents, he hit free throws (14 to be exact), he scored inside with late-season intensity, and he hit an after-the-whistle shot from Steph Curry range.
Thankfully for future opponents, Embiid showed that he can still, once in a while, look like a klutzy man-child:
But overall, this dude played like a next-generation Swiss Army knife. Yes, it was preseason, and double yes, it was against the Nets, but an unlimited, full-strength Joel Embiid is pretty dang close to a flawless basketball player.