In 12 days, the Philadelphia 76ers will have their first regular season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Wells Fargo Center. In other related news, Joel Embiid will finally make his regular season debut. This is not a drill! Barring nothing bad happening in the next 12 days, Joel Embiid will finally play an official NBA basketball game. We may see him for all of 12 minutes, but we’ll see him.

It’s been a long wait for the third overall pick of the 2014 draft, but his time has finally come. Held back by foot injuries, he has missed, what would have been, his first two years of his career. However, the 22-year old has been able to dazzle us with preseason highlights that have grabbed the attention of everyone for his skill-set.

Can your big man guard point guards like John Wall?!

The range!

In the words Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear, “If you don’t like that, you don’t like NBA Basketball”.

As we ready ourselves for the beginning of ,what we hope will be, a promising career, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the beginning of Embiid’s basketball career.

Embiid didn’t start playing basketball till 2011. He grew up in Cameroon and was invited to a basketball camp because of his height. He would play some basketball in Florida and performed well enough to grab the attention of Kansas University’s coach Norm Roberts and coach Self. After watching him play one day, they thought that he’d be the number one pick in the following year’s draft. By January of 2014, he was in the running, along with fellow teammate Andrew Wiggins, for such an achievement.

Interestingly enough, in June, Embiid said in an interview that “I wasn’t good at all” before playing in Kansas. At one point during his Kansas career he even considered quitting, but Coach Self believed in him and told him to keep on working. He was even coming off the bench, but his improvement led to him grabbing the starting spot and displaying his talents for the world to see.

He would finish the season with averages of 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 23 minutes in 28 games. Stress fractures in his back and foot had him miss some time and the NCAA tournament. The injuries would only drop his stock further. He would have a foot surgery that would cost him the 2014-15 season. When the foot didn’t heal properly, he would have surgery again, this time missing the 2015-16 season.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The same goes for all bad things. Embiid has played well with no concerns in his first five preseason games. After the fourth game, the Sixers coaching staff bumped up Embiid’s minutes from 12 to 15 a game. It’s possible that throughout the season minutes restriction will be lifted more and more, bit by bit. He won’t be playing any back to back games this year (Philly has 17 of them), but the potential of Joel “The Process” Embiid is there. Here’s to the big man. Joel Embiid: The Journey (finally!!) begins.

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