SACRAMENTO -- Talk about exceeding expectations.
Joel Embiid thought he would be coming off the bench and playing 20 minutes per game in his rookie season. Now, he is a statistical powerhouse at the center position and has propelled himself into All-Star consideration.
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"If it's a possibility it would be great," Embiid said of making the 2017 All-Star team. "And especially as a rookie that would be exciting."
Embiid is averaging 18.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in 24.5 minutes per game. He is shooting 41.4 from three and 46.8 from the floor. Embiid ranks first among all rookies in scoring (double than second-placed Dario Saric), rebounds and blocks.
The thing is, Embiid does not qualify for overall league rankings because he has only played 20 games. If he was in the mix, he would be tied with Myles Turner for most blocks in the NBA and stand second among all centers in three-point shooting behind Marc Gasol.
"There is no doubt in my mind that he is a serious consideration for that," Brett Brown said of an All-Star selection. "He hasn't done much wrong for him not to be legitimately considered for that game."
The fact Embiid is being mentioned in these talks just two months into his rookie season has come as a surprise to both player and coach. The Rising Stars Challenge seemed like a lock. Rookie of the Year was debated early on, always centered around health and playing time (Embiid is on a minutes restriction). But All-Star, among the best talent in the league, that wasn't on the radar.
"I knew he had a chance," Brown said. "He still has so much more to give and such a long way to grow and go. He knows that more than anybody. That's where I get excited because I see him just scratching the surface on about every level with his game. Even with that, to me, truthful comment and factual comment, he's pretty good as we see it. To think we'd be talking about this back when in [December] having only played 20 games, I think it has caught probably everybody off guard."
The NBA is rolling out a new voting format for the 2017 All-Star Game. Fans will make up 50 percent of the voting, with current players and media members splitting the other half. Each player can fill out one ballot and can vote for themselves.
In spite of having a dedicated social media following, Embiid said he doesn't have any plans of asking fans to vote for him. His numbers are speaking for themselves, anyways.