Joel Embiid has been my #1 pick for the past month and this game demonstrated why. He finished the game with 8 (!) blocks, just short of a triple double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He didn’t recieve a lot of pass entry passes in the 1st half, but that didn’t reflect on his activity. He remained focused on the defensive end, blocking layups from Le’Bryan Nash, and tremendously altering other shots in the paint. One block should not have even counted. He blocked a dunk attempt with his hand through the hoop. Admittedly, it was done so quickly that it was difficult to see, but the referees perceived it as a good play. In the 2nd half, Embiid got more touches in the post. One sequence had him along the 15′ baseline. Instead of taking a midrange jumpshot, a shot well within his repetoire, he lobbed it to Perry Ellis for a two-hand flush. In return, he capped off a lob-dunk for himself. His defensive presence was more impactful with a higher energy level of play. Even Marcus Smart attacked the basket and Embiid gave Smart a good swat on his layup attempt.
As a freshman, he’s fitting into the team well, his level of play is consistent, and he’s focused on the game. He’s easily my #1 player of the draft.