Thanks to injuries the 2014 No. 3 overall pick had been flashing an elite social media game rather than one on the hardwood, but this preseason he's shown eager hoops heads flashes of what had scouts drowning in puddles of their own drool during his lone season at Kansas.
Last week we saw his versatility when he showed off a mature post game, a jumper with range, and his immense rim-protecting ability all in one game, much to the chagrin of Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics.
On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the 22-year-old Embiid displayed what makes him such a physical anomaly.
Not only is he enormous (here's the supposedly 7'0" Embiid standing next to the supposedly 6'11" Jahlil Okafor), he's strong too.
Just look how easily he tosses aside Marcin Gortat—a man so large and dense and from Poland that his nickname is "the Polish Hammer"—for what ends up looking like an easy putback dunk.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) October 13, 2016
Earlier in the game, he ended up switched onto All-Star point guard John Wall, and did this.
Joel Embiid’s defense on John Wall: just WOW!!!!pic.twitter.com/MSeCGdYP6a
— Sportando (@Sportando) October 14, 2016
That might not look like much at first—Wall got off a decent shot that he happened to miss—but it's damn near amazing given Embiid's size and strength. When an opposing team's center switches onto Wall, one of the most explosive players in the league, he's thinking blow-by, not "Oh boy, I hope I can squeeze off a stepback, fadeaway jumper." That Embiid can overpower Gortat on one play and stay in front of Wall on another is incredibly rare.
Here's another play that looks simple until you factor in his size: Embiid snatches a board, turns around, and leads a fast break, dishing to fellow rookie Dario Saric for a layup.
Oh, and don't mind this drive from the perimeter with an up-and-under thrown in for good measure.
If Embiid can do this consistently on pick and pops … pic.twitter.com/esjOCyL0bp
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) October 14, 2016
The 76ers continue to limit Embiid's minutes after years of recovering from foot surgery. His 14 minutes last night is his highest total of the preseason. He scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to go with a block and a steal.