Joel Embiid’s game shape wasn’t up to par with the rest of the league’s this season. There wasn’t much he could do about it, though. He tore his meniscus in late January 2017 and didn’t participate in training camp too much. Most athletes in any sport rely heavily on training camp to get their bodies ready for the upcoming season. It can be very difficult when you’re in a situation like Joel’s. Early on, it really affected his minutes. It also didn’t help that he missed 10 games down the stretch because he broke his orbital bone on March 28th.
In October, he was around 290 pounds. That’s not ideal. He ended up finishing the season around 280. That’s decent, but when you take into consideration that he played his rookie year at around 270-275, it definitely took a toll on his speed and agility.
During his exit interview, Joel stated that he is going to spend the off season working on his quickness. That would most likely include getting back into the 270s. This will be huge for not only him, but also the entire team.
He looked so fresh in October 2016. Obviously, his body hadn’t been through the grind of an NBA season yet, but I also think it had a lot to do with him participating in training camp. His teammates were more comfortable with him. You could tell that the Sixers had some chemistry issues at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Now that he has 102 games under his belt, finished a season healthy and can train freely this summer, his game will take a big step for next year.
The guy is 24 years old. Each year, he is going to get better and better as long as he remains healthy. And each year, he’ll add a new increment to his game. He will be so dominant by the time he is 28.