Joel Embiid finally made his NBA debut Wednesday night, 852 days after being drafted. He was worth the wait.
Despite a cornucopia of exciting storylines from night two of the NBA season, despite Anthony Davis dropping 50 and nearly reaching a 5×5 stat line, despite Myles Turner going for 30 and 16, despite DeMar DeRozan going for 40- despite all of that Embiid was the story of the night.
He was exciting from his very first touch.
He scored 20 points in just 22 minutes while grabbing seven rebounds, blocking two shots and even hitting a three-pointer. He even jawed with Steven Adams!
His presence was electric. The crowd cheered seemingly every time he went near the ball. Can you blame them? It was a game 800+ days in the making and they made sure to treat it as such.
Still, Embiid showed signs of being a rookie. His footwork was beautiful to watch, but his array of low-post moves was very limited. It took him 16 field goal attempts and eight free throws to score those 20 points. He rarely looked to do anything but score once he had the ball.
But there was more than enough reason to get excited. It’s a long season, but trusting the process has never felt more right.