Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid is one of only several players in the NBA who can literally do it all. He can dominate in the post, rebound at a high level, defend, and knock down shots from mid-range and downtown. That's exactly why he's the franchise cornerstone for the Sixers and a huge reason they were able to win the East last season.
Ahead of a big matchup with the league-best Golden State Warriors on Saturday night in Philly, Dubs head coach Steve Kerr spoke out on Embiid's impact and made a rather unique comparison to several legends of the game. Via Sixers Wire:
“Playing against Joel is like going into a time machine,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “It’s like playing against Patrick Ewing or Shaq or Hakeem Olajuwon, it’s a low post-game. He will step out and shoot 3s and run some DHOs and he’s good with that, but he’s one of the few guys in the league now who can dominate a game from the low block and they’ve done a great job with their roster. Putting a lot of shooting around him.”
Kerr makes a valid point. Embiid's style of play is definitely a throwback to the days of dominant bigs like Shaq and Patrick Ewing, with the added element of long-range shooting.
Indeed, the Sixers star also has no shortage of shooters around him in Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Tobias Harris, among others. While the emergence of Tyrese Maxey in place of the disgruntled Ben Simmons is huge, the ultimate success of Philadelphia comes down to just how effective Embiid can be in all facets.
He's already missed 10 games due to injury management and COVID-19, but the former Kansas standout is still putting up big numbers, averaging 24.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 4.2 dimes. He's also draining 40% of his triples. The Sixers will have their hands full vs. Golden State though and another big night from Embiid will definitely be needed against of the best defensive units in the Association.