On Tuesday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that they signed Joel Embiid to a five-year maximum extension worth $148 million.
On Wednesday, Embiid showed the world exactly why he’s worth every penny.
Making his preseason debut, the 23-year-old star scored 22 points, pulled down seven rebounds, had three assists, a block and a turnover in just 15 minutes on the court. He shot 4-of-9 overall and showed a willingness to draw contact, knocking down 14-of-18 free throw attempts.
Wasting no time to assert himself and proving to be as agile as he was before suffering his previous knee injury, the Brooklyn Nets simply had no match for Embiid's offensive game.
Here’s what he did on the very first Sixers possession:
If he gets any space, he will not hesitate to hoist up a mid-range shot.
Late in the second quarter, he showed off an expanded fade-away move that he must have worked on in the offseason. Dirk Nowitzki would be proud of this remarkable shot:
Although he went 0-for-2 from three-point range, he did hit this wildly-deep shot after the whistle blew just before halftime:
That looked pretty natural for a 7-footer. Remember that he made 36-of-98 (36.7 percent) of his long-range shots in just 31 games last season.
Here are the full offensive highlights of his short, yet effective, outing:
Defensively, he was no slouch. He may have swatted just one shot, but it was emphatic.
"Joel Embiid is a transformative young talent that you rarely come across in our game," 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement after the extension was announced on Tuesday. "Joel is only scratching the surface, but he has all the potential and promise to go down as one of the all-time greats to wear a Sixers jersey. Ownership's willingness to extend this contract reflects our collective belief in Joel Embiid and a reinforced commitment to building a championship-level basketball program.”
"I'm so thrilled to be in this position," Embiid said in the statement. "I want to thank ownership, management, the coaches and most of all the fans, for supporting me throughout this whole process. I love this city and I'm so, so, so, so excited to be spending my next five years here and hopefully the rest of my career, God willing. Trust 'The Process.’"
As seen last year and with 15 incredible minutes on Wednesday, it seems as though Embiid might be a talent that the NBA has never seen in its long and storied history.