Joel Embiid had a very impressive rookie season, averaging 20.2 ppg and 7.8 rebounds, while playing just over 25 minutes a game. His play ignited the 76ers crowd in all 31 games he participated in. He was a huge favorite to run away with the NBA Rookie of the Year award, but a minor injury suffered in January forced the team to cut his season short to ensure he would be available for a much bigger purpose.

The drafting of Ben Simmons last season and Markelle Fultz this season has made Philly immediate contenders in many folks' eyes in the world of basketball. Although shutting Embiid down last season prevented him from taking home the ROY honors, Sixers fans will be much more excited knowing that their starting center is healthy and will be able to be on the floor with Fultz and Simmons at the start of the 2017-18 season.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Joel said he will be ready for the start of the 76ers' Training Camp this month. The news should be great for Philly fans and should provide a sense of relief knowing Embiid is feeling healthy and eager to make fans finally understand the process that took several seasons to complete.

2017-18 season expectations

The 76ers have not been in the playoffs since 2012 when Andre Iguodala was the star player of the team.

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Since his departure, Philly has enjoyed the luxury of drafting some of the top prospects the NBA Draft had to offer. In the last four drafts, besides Joel, they've been able to pick up Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz. All of them (except for Saric who played overseas) were No.1 and No. 2 picks, respectively.

However, only Embiid, Saric, and Okafor have been able to play on the floor together.

Still, many fans believe that when they finally get the chance to this season, as expected, the team will instantly be a contender in the Eastern Conference. Embiid has been the vocal leader for the young team, and has been a huge help in terms of turning Philly back into an attractive market for stars to possibly want to play.

Staying healthy

The Sixers have without question one of the most talented young teams in the NBA.

Along with teams like the Lakers, Timberwolves, and Suns, Philly is expected to be a potential NBA champion in the near future. The biggest factor in determining that is keeping their key players healthy. Ben Simmons missed his entire rookie year in 2016 after injuring his foot just before the start of the season.

Markelle Fultz was shut down from Summer League after spraining his ankle in just his third game.

Although the injury was minor, the 76ers were playing it safe by keeping him out of the remaining games. Unfortunately, if they want to have the season many expect them to, they have to choose their players' minutes and activities wisely if they want to have them healthy for a full season and the playoffs.

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