Sometimes trusting the process is worthwhile. For Joel Embiid, battling injury setbacks and having a sensational rookie campaign when he eventually took the court has resulted in a five-year contract extension worth $148M. But what does this mean for the Sixers? Is it a good move? Here are some quick thoughts.
Let’s start with the obvious. Yes, paying a center that amount of money in the knowledge that he has only paid 31 games is a BIG risk. But he’s a BIG player, with an even BIGGER upside. Embiid wasn’t just good during his limited time on the court last season, he was almost transcending. The way he attacked the center position was unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory and it almost blurred the lines between what an old-school center should bring to the table and what a modern day forward is able to do at the rim.
We don’t need to dive into the stats and analytics, but averaging 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds during his short time in the NBA is nothing short of impressive. The impact Embiid has had both on and off the court in this city speaks for itself. But if Embiid can stay healthy during those five years, the Sixers may just have a generational talent on their hands during what may be the most crucial five-year stint in recent history.
The problem with drafting so highly so consistently is that contract extensions were always going to come around and bite in the rear eventually if the players lived up to their potential. By jumping the gun on Embiid, the Sixers are able to pay what may sound like a lot, but could be extremely cheap in comparison to what players such as Hasaan Whiteside could command in years to come.
This is a high-risk, high-reward move by the Sixers. But if they’re ever to expedite the process and start contending, this is the sort of move that will propel the Sixers to the next level.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports