Joel Embiid

Sixers’ Nerlens Noel working on jump shot


The words “Nerlens Noel” and “shooting range” were not used in the same sentence in scouting reports last season. Except with “has no” in between. As evidence, we present his shot chart from 2014-15:


That’s a lot of red.

Noel is trying to change that; he’s been working on a jumper, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.

“I think it’s really going to help me as a basketball player overall, especially at [power forward],” Noel said of the daily workouts. “[It will] help space the floor with my ability and start hitting the jumper consistently and complement our whole offense. And, you know, just changing my whole game and how effective I am….

“It’s a pressure year for me to show what I am capable of and definitely show what I worked this hard for,” Noel said of the coming season. “So I think I’m in a good position to showcase it all. My ceiling will be better at the four position.”

source: Getty ImagesAs a practical matter, Noel has to develop some shooting range and step out as a four if he wants to be a Sixer. Rookie Jahlil Okafor is the guy who will be getting the majority of post touches next season, plus there is the possibility of true center Joel Embiid playing the season after that (if his foot heals). The five spot is pretty full in Philly. Noel has to play the four.

Big men considered one-dimensional can develop reliable jumpers, just ask Blake Griffin. The Sixers reconstructed Noel’s shot, and it’s something he worked on last season at practices and before games. But it was going to require more time and more intensive training, which is what he got this summer.

If he can start to step out to 15-18 feet and knock down shots, his entire game will change — and a Sixers team without enough shooting (Nik Stauskas here’s your chance) can certainly use it.

But everyone has seen that shot chart, Noel is going to have to prove it first.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie on Joel Embiid’s foot surgery: “I’m optimistic”


It’s a sentence that doesn’t lend itself to positive vibes:

Sixers’ center Joel Embiid had a second surgery on his right foot, which included a bone graft to help it heal and a replacing of the two screws already in there. He will miss all of the 2015-16 NBA season, just as he missed all of the 2014-15 season.

But in a conference call with reporters, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie tried to put out the positive vibes. He had a positive spin on everything.

“I’m optimistic. The doctors that operated on him yesterday are, too.…

Do you have reason to be concerned? Of course….  I asked (one of the surgeons, Dr. Richard) Ferkel if he re-broke this thing what would’ve happened. He said he would’ve heard a pop like last time. Joel said no. It’d be terribly painful. He pushed on the navicular bone and Jo said it didn’t hurt at all.”

Embiid was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, but has yet to set foot on an NBA court due to his foot injuries. This surgery is expected to take five to eight months to heal, meaning he could be pushed to try to play at the end of next season. But the Sixers are not going to take that risk, Hinkie said.

“We are focused on these first six or 10 weeks (after surgery) right now. Then we will get to that next phase… No one wants to be second-guessing this a year from now or 10 years from now or four years from now.”


It’s still too early to write Embiid off or call him a bust. Guys do come back from this injury.

Admittedly the signs and history do not bode well if you’re a Sixers fan. Plus, if the rumblings that he was not fully committed to the rehab and his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be are true, there are some real issues.

But he’s young and could bounce back. For his sake and the Sixers, let’s hope so.

Report: Joel Embiid actually has surgery. For real this time


On July 11, the 76ers announced they anticipated Joel Embiid would undergo surgery within 7-10 days.

So, though Embiid’s surgery was reportedly scheduled for today, you’ll have to excuse me for wanting confirmation it actually happened.

Mike Sielski of The Inquirer

Embiid will likely miss the upcoming season. It’s another crushing blow for the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. He already missed what would have been his rookie season with a foot injury, and there are major concerns about his career.

But – 38 days after Philadelphia’s announcement – at least the healing can begin.

Report: Joel Embiid’s right foot isn’t insured by the Sixers


On Tuesday, Joel Embiid will have season-ending surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot. It will be his second surgery on that foot, the first coming shortly before the 2014 draft. Normally, when a player misses time, the league reimburses the team for 60 percent of the player’s salary. But if an injury is deemed pre-existing, that doesn’t apply. Apparently, concerns about Embiid’s right foot were bad enough that the Sixers aren’t going to be able to collect that insurance money.

From’s Darren Rovell:

The $9 million the Philadelphia 76ers ownership will have paid Joel Embiid in his first two years, without having ever played an NBA game, will come out of their pockets.

Although Embiid’s contract is insured, since it is among the five highest salaries on the team, sources say Embiid’s right foot was excluded from the policy because it was a pre-existing injury. Embiid first had surgery on the foot the week before last year’s NBA draft and was subsequently taken by the 76ers with the third pick.

That’s never a great sign. Amar’e Stoudemire’s five-year, $100 million deal with the Knicks from 2010 was famously uninsured against a knee injury, and those injury concerns were part of why Phoenix didn’t offer him a new five-year deal at the time. If Embiid ever gets healthy (and hopefully he does), the right foot is always going to be a red flag to teams thinking about signing or trading for him. And you never want a big man to have foot problems. Everything about Embiid’s situation is a huge bummer.

Report: Joel Embiid’s foot surgery set for Tuesday


Since the report last month that he would need a second consecutive season-ending foot surgery, the particulars of Joel Embiid’s procedure have been something of a mystery. The report that he would need the surgery surfaced over a month ago, and there’s been no concrete developments since then — until now. In making a note about Embiid attending a Sixers assistant’s wedding, Yahoo’s Marc Spears points out that the 21-year-old center’s surgery now has a date: Tuesday.

It’s good that there’s a date on it now. Once Embiid has the surgery, he can start rehab and we’ll get a clearer (not clear, but clearer) idea of his long-term health. So that’s good.

Still, everything about Embiid’s situation just sucks. The Sixers took him with the No. 3 pick in 2014, but he was on track to be the first overall pick before the foot fracture was discovered. He’s that kind of talent. Unfortunately, one of the worst injuries a big man can have is a foot fracture. Those have a tendency to come back, given his size and how much weight he has to put on the foot. It’s already wiped out his first two full seasons in the NBA, and there’s no telling when he’ll be able to play. Hopefully these injuries are just a blip in what turns out to be a long, successful career, but there’s not a lot of reason to be optimistic about that right now.