CAMDEN – It was not only called a comeback, but the NBA’s best, according to Joel Embiid’s peers.
Friday, in a series of tweets announcing this year’s #PlayersVoice award recipients, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) named the 76ers’ big man its Comeback Player of the Year.
Taking into account all the adversity Embiid has faced since turning pro, Friday’s recognition was fitting. There were, of course, his two stress fractures, the first of which cost him what might have been the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, as well as the entire season that followed. He then reinjured his right foot a year later, delaying his debut until last fall.
Once finally on the floor, Embiid flourished, and although his rookie campaign was ultimately limited to 31 games, the center put up sterling stats. He averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks in fewer than 26 minutes per game, a feat never before achieved in NBA history.
Embiid’s renowned social game also garnered respect Friday. The NBPA tabbed him the league’s Best Social Media Follow, which, to many, probably seemed like an obvious choice.
The case certainly could have been made Embiid was worthy of the NBPA’s Best Rookie prize, but Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon claimed it, as he did in June at this year’s inaugural NBA Awards.
As part of the #PlayersVoice awards, Best Teammate honors were handed out to members of each of the league’s 30 clubs, too. For the Sixers, that distinction fell to T.J. McConnell.
From an organizational standpoint, the Sixers were busy Friday, helping spruce up and prepare John F. Hartranft School for the upcoming school year.
The community outreach efforts at the North Philadelphia elementary school marked the Sixers’ latest Project 76 service day.