PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The win was great, but the evaluation for the Sixers first live action of the 2016 preseason was all about two players, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.
The Sixers went on to defeat the Celtics, 92-89.
The pair of rookies were both acquired by the Sixers during the 2014 NBA Draft, and have not seen NBA action since that time. Embiid spent by dealing with injury, while Saric stayed in Europe to play two seasons in Turkey.
On Tuesday night, the pair that came to the Sixers on the same night, took the floor together for the first time as teammates as the Sixers played the Boston Celtics. Saric and Embiid started at power forward and center respectively and neither disappointed in their first NBA run.
Embiid played on a minutes restriction that was set at 12 minutes heading into the game. That restriction didn’t curb his enthusiasm about his first live game of basketball in over two years. He expressed his joy following the game on Instagram.
Embiid finished the night with six points, four rebounds and two blocks in just under 13 minutes of action. His first basket as a Sixers was a smooth turn around jumpshot. He then knocked down a deep two-pointer with his toe on the line to show off his range.
The former third-overall picked looked active on defense and met this year’s third overall pick, Jaylen Brown, at the rim as he rejected a dunk attempt from the Boston rookie.
Saric impressed as well in his first action. Unlike Embiid, Saric has been playing the last two years and it showed. The Croatian product tallied 10 points (including two three pointers) to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
The solid performances from the Sixers two rookies, didn’t totally satisfy the fact that Ben Simmons, the number one overall pick this year, was sidelined. He is expected to be down for quite some time, but he did undergo successfully surgery on Tuesday.
For now, Sixers fans will have to wait for Simmons, but Embiid and Saric showed they will certainly be something to watch as we wait.