When the Philadelphia 76ers took the NBA Draft by storm last month, the franchise’s marquee decision became the selection of Joel Embiid with the third overall pick. Embiid has spent the past few months rehabilitating a devastating injury with the Sixers, and the organization has been hopeful that the seven-footer will be ready to play in the upcoming season. The upcoming season will be Embiid’s second in the league, and he’ll be following in the footsteps of one of his childhood idols: Bill Walton was another two-sport star who played in the NBA for 22 years before retiring as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Like Walton, Embiid has been a huge part of his college team, and it’s expected
The Philadelphia 76ers have signed Joel Embiid to a 4 year, $148 million extension, which will keep them in the future of one of the best young players in the league.
Ever since he was drafted fourth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014, Joel Embiid has been compared to Hall of Fame center Bill Walton. Many say he has all the tools to become the next great center in the NBA; the way he can impact the game from the frontcourt, his ability to create on his own and his ability to score at will while being a dominant rebounder and shot blocker.For the third time in four seasons, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will miss at least one game due to injury. Embiid will not play in Game 5 of Philadelphia’s series against the Washington Wizards because of a torn meniscus in his right knee. His condition is unknown after the fifth game. But it’s another health-related hurdle in a career filled with it. It’s not fair to compare Embiid to another very talented but very vulnerable big man, Hall of Fame player Bill Walton. After being picked third in 2014, Embiid missed two full seasons due to injury. He never missed fewer than 18 games in the five seasons he was fit. Similarly, Walton missed four full seasons during his NBA career, which lasted from 1974 to 1988. The ratio of seasons Walton has played to seasons he has missed is eerily identical to Embiid’s. Each spent five seasons on the field and two off it.
Bill Walton and Joel Embiid even share an injury history in college
Bill Walton (L) and Joel Embiid have battled back injuries while continuing to play at the college level. | UCLA/Collegiate Images via Getty Images In the 1973-74 season, Bill Walton, a senior at UCLA, missed three games with a broken back. That season ended UCLA’s record-setting streak of 88 game wins and seven consecutive NCAA titles. Joel Embiid missed the end of his first season at Kansas with a stress fracture in his lower back. Despite injuries, Walton was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the first pick in the 1974 NBA Draft. In his healthiest season in Portland, Walton missed 17 games during the 1976-77 season. Still, he led the Blazers to their only NBA title that season. Although he missed 24 games the following season, Walton was named NBA MVP. But Portland was in trouble without its big man. Before Walton was injured, the Blazers were 50-8 and threatened to reach 69 wins in a single season. (That record, set by the Los Angeles Lakers, has since been broken twice.) But since that injury, Portland has gone just 8-16. Walton tried painkilling injections into his injured leg to be back in time for the playoffs. But he only lasted two games and Portland was eliminated in the Conference semifinals.
Embiid has struggled to start his career
. Joel Embiid was one of the top picks in the 2014 draft despite his injuries at Kansas. But he reported a sore foot during training for selection. Embiid was diagnosed with a scaphoid bone fracture in his right foot. Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie decided to go for Embiid anyway, and the youngster missed the entire 2014-15 season. Embiid broke the same bone while rehabbing from his first surgery and is also out for 2015-16. He was as good as claimed when he finally took the field in the 2016-17 season. Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He played just 25.4 minutes per game and was plagued by injuries that kept him sidelined for two games. Despite all precautions, a knee injury forced him to retire after just 31 games. He has been named an All-Star in each of his last four seasons and made the All-NBA team twice. This is despite missing 19, 18, 22 and 21 games, respectively, during that time. Embiid also made a late start in the playoffs. He missed the first two games of the 2018 first round due to an orbital fracture in his left eye. He also missed a game in the first round of 2019 due to hamstring inflammation.
Are Joel Embiid and Bill Walton connected in time?
Joel Embiid (L) is a dominant scorer and guard for the Philadelphia 76ers; Bill Walton was arguably the best passer in NBA history before Nikola Jokic. | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images Bill Walton was one of the most famous players in college basketball. In each of his three seasons at UCLA, he won the Naismith Trophy as America’s Best Player. (Rookies weren’t allowed to play when Walton came in 1970). During his tenure, the Bruins achieved an 88-2 record and won two national titles. In 1974, Walton’s team lost in the semifinals of the national tournament to eventual champion NC State. Weak feet and ankles shortened his career considerably; of a possible 1,148 regular season games in 14 seasons, Walton played only 468. That’s not a typo; Walton missed 680 games. He also lost 16 of 65 playoff games in the seasons he was able to play. Due to frequent leg injuries, Embiid played in 260 of the 555 possible games during the regular season. Like Walton, he couldn’t play more often than he came on the field. Could it be that Joel Embiid is becoming the tragically talented Bill Walton of a new generation? Statistics provided by Basketball Reference and SRCBB.The Philadelphia 76ers rookie center Joel Embiid has been very impressive so far this season. The 20-year-old rookie has established himself as the face of the franchise and one of the best players in the Association. His game has shown great improvement since last year and he is leading the Sixers to an impressive record of 15-10.. Read more about bill walton hall of fame and let us know what you think.
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