Strengths: A seven footer with an exceptionally high ceiling... What is most striking about Embiid is how advanced his game is given that he reportedly only started playing basketball in 2011. The former volleyball and soccer player is clearly a naturally gifted athlete, and his length and fluidity both translate very well to basketball... He keeps good balance offensively both with his back to the basket and, more impressively, facing the hoop... His body control and lateral movement for a seven footer are both exceptional... Although his leaping ability is somewhat average, Embiid is able to dunk the ball between his legs with ease -- a testament to his body control and good hands... Offensively, Embiid's game is quickly expanding, but he can already score in a variety of ways. Going forward, he will likely rely on mid-range jumpers and back to the basket post moves. However, he is already confident taking face up shots out to the college three point line with decent (but not great) form. While at Kansas it will be interesting to see if Bill Self expands on this aspect of his game or (more likely) asks him to be strictly an interior presence... Embiid's post game is a work in progress, but he does show the ability to take short jump hooks off of a clean drop step with good balance... Embiid possesses very good hands and a soft touch, both on the catch and his shot... He is a willing passer -- he mentioned in an interview with a Kansas recruiting site that he believes passing is a strength to his game.
Weaknesses: As with most high school seven footers, there is plenty for Embiid to work on... Embiid's moves are fluid, but can be slow, especially vertically. He is not an especially quick leaper, and spends a long time gathering himself before jumping... Embiid could use some work keeping the ball high in the post, and keeping his hands high in general, especially for shot blocking and rebounding purposes -- not especially difficult to do, just takes practice... Should polish his back-to-the-basket moves... His frame is very good for a 17 year old, but he will need to continue to work on his body and strength to compete physically in the post at the next level... You would like to see him develop more of a "beast mode," or nasty streak, as many great centers have... He reportedly averaged only 1.9 blocks per game his senior season at the Rock School in Gainesville, Florida, which is difficult to imagine given his great length and athleticism. He should pursue shot blocking opportunities more actively, as well as improve his timing... To this same point, Embiid should focus on being very loud defensively and becoming an "anchor" a la Kevin Garnet, Tyson Chandler, and other impact defensive bigs. He is in a unique position where he possesses the physical tools to do so.
Notes: Embiid, whose father was a professional team handball player, grew up playing volleyball and soccer in his central-western African home country of Cameroon... Will play his college ball at University of Kansas under Bill Self. He will begin his college career with only two years of organized basketball under his belt, and is likely to spend at least a couple of years developing in school before declaring for the NBA draft.