Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was pleased with what he saw from Joel Embiid in the pre-season win over the Boston Celtics, despite the center not being the focal point on offense.
Embiid contributed 18 points in just 17 minutes of playing time during Philadelphia's 108-99 win over their Eastern Conference rivals on Tuesday.
The three-time NBA All-Star missed all four of his three-point attempts in the contest, yet Rivers felt the way he contributed during his limited time on the floor was a blueprint for the future.
The 76ers are beginning a new chapter under Rivers, who accepted the job opportunity in Philadelphia just days after parting ways with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Phenomenal," Rivers said of Embiid after the game. "It's a great example for Joel. We ran our stuff, but we didn't run his stuff, and he still got 18.
"That's one of the things that I was telling him, we can run continuity offense, and not even run any plays for you, but you're still going to end up with the ball because you're the best player, and you'll see that happen.
"That did happen, and I thought that was a great thing for Joel."
Sixers Win. pic.twitter.com/cyCn5OVH8n— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 16, 2020
The 76ers turned to Rivers to replace Brett Brown, who was fired after the team were swept by the Celtics in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
As well as a coaching change, Philadelphia also completed trades for Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tony Bradley during a busy offseason, as well as adding Dwight Howard in free agency.
Tyrese Maxey was selected with the 21st pick in the draft too, and the rookie impressed against the Celtics, scoring eight points while playing 12 minutes off the bench.
The 76ers go up against the Indiana Pacers in another pre-season game on Friday, then open their 2020-21 campaign against the Washington Wizards on December 23.