PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid began the night as nervous as he has ever been. But by the end of his highly anticipated pro debut, Embiid was showered with chants of “Trust the process!” while already becoming the 76ers’ go-to player.
Playing in his first regular-season NBA game after missing his first two seasons due to two surgeries on his right foot, Embiid drew oohs and aahs from a sellout Philadelphia crowd — even on missed shots — by flashing the versatile potential that made him the third overall pick in 2014 out of Kansas.
More important, though, was the fact that the 7-footer got up and was OK after taking a hard spill in the second half while fouled in transition. His fall drew a collective arena-wide gasp from the 20,487 who came to witness the start of the Embiid era.
Embiid kept playing, and he didn’t disappoint, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in a 103-97 Sixers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. In 28 games with the Jayhawks, Embiid never scored 20 points in a game. (ESPN.com)
So, Trust the process, right? We all need to trust the process of God. At times it might not be pretty and it might just be painful, but we all need to trust the process -the process of God that is.
Here’s what a Philly sports writer had to say about what Philly fans and the Sixers organization have gone through these last three years:
It has been an emotional journey for Embiid and the Sixers, who have endured a historically bad rebuild that has seen a total of 199 losses over the past three seasons. The losses, though, have enabled the team to draft the likes of Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jahlil Okafor.
The Sixers drafted Embiid in 2014, but the raw center had to undergo two surgeries on his right foot before finally taking the court this season.
“There are times when I get emotional, like watching him today walk around in shoot0around and you see [all the arena] seats with white shirts placed on them, and it’s opening night, and Joel Embiid is here,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “I lived every second of that journey with him, good times and bad, and for him to arrive now here … knowing the work and uncertainty and the emotional strain that he went through, wondering if he would play again, to see him arrive, it is a special night.”
“We have gone through 52 players,” Brown said. “Count them, 52 players that I’ve put on the floor. Only 11 are still in the league. We’ve gone through 14 point guards. Count them, 14.” Now, Brown can walk into a locker room and see keepers. So even though Wednesday appeared to be just another loss, it was far from that.
“I am seeing something that has a chance to grow, that we can all wrap our arms around,” Brown said “And on opening night to do some of the things that we did with [Embiid and Saric], it does feel a little bit different on opening night.” (Keith Pompey – Philly.com)
So again I say, trust the process. Joel Embiid’s comeback is epic. Philly fans everywhere are pulling for him and rooting for him and cheering for him to make it. So, take it from Joel Embiid: it might seem hard, and it might BE hard, but trust the process of God working things out for good for you.