Bryan Colangelo doesn't use the term "foundational piece" lightly when talking about players. But the 76ers' president of basketball operations will tell you Joel Embiid has clearly demonstrated that he deserves to be called one.
"We couldn't be happier with where we find him," Colangelo said.
The Sixers look at Embiid as the complete package on and off the court. The 7-foot-2, 275-pounder is the runaway leading candidate for rookie of the year.
With his restricted time on the court up to 28 minutes a game, Embiid is no longer looking to score just about every time he touches the ball.
"You see him even as a much more thorough, complete basketball player," Colangelo said.
He has been getting others involved by passing out of certain situations. The 22-year-old is learning all of the nuances of things he can get away with in an NBA game.
Embiid has also made a major impact on the defensive end.
"I think he's showing that not only does he have all this on court, he's got the off-court-element as well, which is the persona, that fun that comes with having success," Colangelo said. "He is a complete package as it relates to all of that."
Embiid was averaging 18.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game heading into Tuesday's matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Wells Fargo Center. He is the first player since Shaquille O'Neal (1992-93) to put up those types of numbers through the first 18 games of his career.
The Sixers selected Embiid with the third overall pick in 2014. He missed the last two seasons after two surgeries on his right foot.
"He was well worth the wait," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "He's as skilled a big man as there is in the league. I don't know if there's any better.
"When you put the whole package together as far as shooting the three-point shot, footwork, he reminds me a little of Tim Duncan, but really the shooting range is better."
Tim Frazier has bounced around the league since signing two 10-day contracts with the Sixers during the 2014-15 season. Although he had success, Frazier was waived five days into his second contract to make room for Thomas Robinson so the team could reach the salary-cap floor.
But after a stint with the Portland Trail Blazers, it appears that the former Penn State backup has found a home with the Pelicans.
"I think with him, he's such a tough-minded kid, he was going to find a way to stay in the league," Gentry said. "He's done some good things for us."
The backup point guard did a solid job of running the team while Jrue Holiday missed the first 12 games as his wife, Lauren, recovered from brain surgery.