Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid has used Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert‘s All-NBA Third Team selection last year and recent Defensive Player of the Year hardware as motivation this season, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Embiid, an MVP frontrunner so far in 2020/21, looks to have a good chance at besting Gobert’s All-NBA finish this season.
“I want to dominate,” Embiid said. “But going up against him, one of my goals is to also be Defensive Player of the Year. So, you know, when you go up against those types of guys, he’s a great player, and you know, he does a lot for his team that don’t show up on the stat sheet … but when you go against those guys, you know, it brings something else to my game.”
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Jay King of The Athletic considers players the Celtics could target with the $28.5MM traded player exception they generated in their sign-and-trade of Gordon Hayward this summer. Athletic Pistons forward Jerami Grant merits special mention, as well as reliable veteran forwards Harrison Barnes and Thaddeus Young, along with guard Victor Oladipo.
- Newly-minted Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle hopes to remain with New York for a while, Ian Begley of SNY tweets. “When I came here almost two years ago, that was the plan,” Randle asserted. “I would definitely love to be here long-term.” Marc Berman of the New York Post contemplates whether or not team president Leon Rose will work out a contract extension with Randle when he becomes eligible for one this summer.
- After chatter emerged that the Celtics were interested in adding All-Star Magic center Nikola Vučević to their roster by the trade deadline, Josh Robbins, Jay King, and Jared Weiss of The Athletic speculate about what a deal could look like.