NBA

Joel Embiid.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown makes comparisons between Joel Embiid and Tim Duncan

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The injury to rookie Ben Simmons may have sapped some of the optimism heading into this season for Philadelphia 76ers fans, but with impressive performances in pre-season, Joel Embiid has shown them that they still have something to be excited about. 

The number three pick in the 2014 draft has finally put his two-year injury nightmare behind him and has shown what all the fuss was about with glimpses of his talent in some of the Sixers' pre-season encounters.

The 7-foot center has already made an impact on both ends of the floor in games against the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers and the early signs are that the 76ers have a future star on their hands. 

After battling injury and not playing a single NBA game thus far, you would expect Philadelphia to manage expectations for the 22-year-old, but head coach Brett Brown has gone for the opposite approach and, if anything, has put unnecessary pressure on the youngster by recently comparing him to a legend.

Per CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato, Brown said: "I think that he is going to be the focal point both offensively and defensively.

"You see him and he just has 'It'. Years ago, you saw it with [Tim] Duncan. I see it with him in regards to a real target offensively and a real sort of centerpiece defensively." 

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers

Brown spent 11 years with the San Antonio Spurs as both player development director and assistant coach and worked closely with Duncan, so he is certainly better placed than most to make this comparison.

But it will be key for Brown and the 76ers to get a full season out of Embiid first and to see how he reacts to the rigours of regular NBA games before predicting how good he can become. 

Topics:
NBA
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Joel Embiid
Jahlil Okafor

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