Joel Embiid wasn’t named to the All-Star team this season, but he’s got the attention of executives around the league. One anonymous executive told Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believes Embiid can eventually become a top-3 player in the NBA.
“He’s a two-shoulder player, meaning when bigs play defense against each other, they choose a shoulder and determine a pivot foot and they guard that way,” the executive said. “You can’t do that against Embiid. He can go either way, off either foot. And the fact that he can hit outside jumpers is incredible. Bigs don’t like guarding that. And, like I said, once he really develops his power game and learns the game and learns himself, oh my God, is he going to be good. I don’t throw around the word superstar, but he’s that – a top-three player in the league down the road, in my mind.”
Another anonymous scout told Cooney that he believes Embiid can become the franchise player for the Sixers due to his love for the game, but the scout cautions that health will still determine the big man’s place in the league.
“The only thing that worries me is health. You can see what kind of playfulness and personality, that’s a big thing with bigs,” the scout said. “A lot are playing only because they are big. It’s rare to get a big that really loves the game and even rarer when he’s not from the United States. Those parameters, that doesn’t align. That’s why, even in the league where the big man is less than an integral part of the game over the past five years, someone like Embiid with his agility, explosiveness and ability to be a force inside, you have to look at like a young [Shaq O’Neal], a bigger [Alonzo Mourning], much more offensively skilled than [Dikembe Mutombo].”
Here’s more from Philadelphia:
- Embiid still isn’t playing back-to-backs, though the Sixers are winning games without him on the floor. Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer (video link) credits the team’s ball movement for its success. Ford also believes Nerlens Noel, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors profiled as a trade candidate, has elevated his game over the last few weeks.
- Former GM Sam Hinkie will always receive some credit for the Sixers‘ promising future, but ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Mark Jones believes current GM Bryan Colangelo deserves credit for the team’s surprising run, as Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “The Colangelos in the front office, Bryan in particular, has laid the foundation for things going forward, they’re in a good place right now,” Jones said.