The third overall selection of the 2014 draft out of Kansas, Embiid has been sidelined his first two NBA seasons due to two foot surgeries.

Speaking at the Sixers Beach Bash at Jack's Place on Saturday, Free says has seen Embiid occasionally work out with his teammates this summer and has a vivid memory of him being worked out pre-game by Sixers coaches last season.

"Joel Embiid is an amazing player," said Free, who averaged 30.2 points per game and earned an all-star berth in the 1979-80 season for the San Diego Clippers. "He is a man amongst boys."

Free is most impressed with the fluidity of the 7-foot-2 Embiid.

"He is an athlete but he is also a basketball player," Free said. "I have seen him make moves that are unbelievable."

Free looked at the overflow crowds at the Beach Bash, where first round picks Ben Simmons and Timothe Luwawu also attended, and was amazed at the turnout.

"I have never seen crowds like this here," he said. "When I talk to fans I sense a real excitement and Philadelphia needs this. "