Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers agree to 5-year contract extension

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts during an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Philadelphia. Embiid's numbers are the best in the rookie class. Yet his rookie of the year chances see

Averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and a stellar 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid proved he can be a key player when healthy.

The obvious concern is making sure that Embiid's body is able to hold up long enough for him to be able to see out the length of his contract, but the team must feel confident enough about his longterm health to be willing to back up the Brink's truck for him.

The Sixers are believed to have included several protections in the deal if Embiid continues to struggle with injuries over the next five years.

Whenever Embiid does play, Brett Brown expects him to contribute heavily. Embiid, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, missed the first two seasons of his career with foot injuries before playing 31 games previous year - and then missing the rest of the season with a torn meniscus.

Those injury concerns have carried over into this season, as recovery from the meniscus surgery that ended Embiid's season in March has kept him from participating in any of Philadelphia's first three preseason games, though he is participating in five-on-five portions of practice. "He's just scratching the surface".

Up until his past season ended prematurely, the Sixers were 8.6 points per 100 possessions worse off defensively when Embiid was off the floor. But perhaps Embiid's most notable impact was the difference in performance for the Sixers when he was on and off the court.

Embiid had adopted "The Process" as a nickname and was introduced as such as part of the pregame lineup festivities.

Philadelphia 76ers fans reportedly will be trusting the process for years to come.

As good as the Sixers expect Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to be, Joel Embiid is the keystone of the franchise.

But the flashes of brilliance have convinced Colangelo and ownership that Embiid was worth the risk.

Before training camp, however, Embiid said, "to be honest, I don't think I'll play all 82 games".

He didn't pick up a basketball until a few years ago, when a friend informed him that very few 7-footers succeed in soccer.

He is their best player and the future of the franchise. He has near unlimited potential, from the ability to win the league's defensive player of the year award to pushing his scoring average into the high 20s. Yes, Embiid was probably going to miss his rookie season while recovering from a foot injury.