Sportress of Blogitude

Joel Embiid has ‘something to prove’ when NBA resumes play

The Philadelphia 76ers are among the 22 teams that will descend upon the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando for a resumption of 2019-20 season, and Joel Embiid cannot wait.

Play is expected to resume on July 31 according to the NBA’s best-laid plans, and Embiid is eager to capitalize on the opportunity to get back on the court.

“We’ve been going at it for the past four weeks, about six times a week, just trying to get a head start, and get ready for whatever’s coming,” Embiid recently told Lauren Rosen of the 76ers’ official site. “I have something to prove, and I feel like whenever that opportunity comes, it’s going to be my time.”

Embiid’s return to the court in March following his latest injury setback lasted only one game — in which he posted a 30-point, 14-rebound performance — before the NBA went on indefinite hiatus after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert contracted the coronavirus.

Embiid feels things were just starting to fall into place for him when play was halted in a season that was further complicated by his brief feud with Sixers fans in February.

“I felt like before the season got shut down, I was on that path. Especially after that All-Star Game, my mentality completely changed,” Embiid added. “First part of the season wasn’t up to my standard, not even close. I was on that path of changing it all, go out, and make it happen.”

Embiid was averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists for a 76ers team that underwhelmed before play was halted. However, when the NBA resumes play with an abbreviated eight-game conclusion to the regular season, the Sixers (39-26) will be a lock for the postseason.

Now with the chance to make good on the belief that the 76ers should have been among the best teams in the Eastern Conference, it sounds like Embiid is ready to rise to the challenge.