5 things to watch for in Joel Embiid's Sixers preseason debut

Embiid scored 20 or more points in 19 of his 31 games last season, including a streak of 10 straight that was the longest by a rookie since Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers recorded 14 consecutive in 2011. They embrace his carefree attitude on Twitter, where any tweet of Embiid's resembles that of a normal 23-year-old and goes viral in seconds.

On Monday night, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers had inked their oft-injured, yet potential-laden center Joel Embiid to a five-year, $148 million rookie scale max contract extension. The deal is for five years and worth $148 million.

With his social media savvy and dominant offensive game, Embiid has become an instant fan favorite in Philadelphia.

Embiid, who just this week took part in 5-on-5 practices, has not appeared in a real game since January 17.

Now, it would be ridiculous to suggest that paying an injury-prone big man so much money is justified purely based off of what his meaning to the city is.

There have been reports that only 50 percent of the deal is guaranteed should Embiid suffer injuries like he has the previous three seasons.

If the organization chose to factor this into the equation, they may have used a contract model similar to what the Nets once offered Brook Lopez. The other three players did not receive the maximum allotted salary as Embiid did. You've seen how good of a player he is.

Or anxious enough to lose him down the line without striking a deal. Rather than allow another franchise to swoop in and dictate the terms of his next deal, the Sixers took the initiative a year early to ensure they got at least some coverage in case of catastrophe. If Embiid's body continues to fall apart and they waive him, are they still on the hook for 75 percent of the contract? There's a steep learning curve that comes with handling the ball against NBA defenses, and even Fultz, who was projected as one of the most polished assets since Kyrie Irving, will need to get a feel for the pace of professional basketball. He will enter restricted free agency after this year with all expectations pointing to Milwaukee matching any offer he receivers. That number is the biggest argument against Embiid and his new contract.

That's the risk Philadelphia is taking, betting on Embiid's health and his ability to be not only the best center in the National Basketball Association, but one of the best centers in decades.

Vanessa Coleman

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