Joel Embiid says he sees himself ‘just being like Kevin Durant’

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images /

Joel Embiid is having a monster season on offense. This is evident in not only his numbers but in his manner of play as well.

Despite missing 18 games, Joel Embiid has his Philadelphia 76ers in first place in the Eastern Conference. They are 37-17 and 28-8 with him in the lineup. Being injured and not playing is never a good thing, but this shows just how valuable he has been in keeping the Sixers at the top. Embiid is good.

He’s always been good, to be fair. He’s been a stultifying defender and maybe the best post player in the league today, but this year he’s decided that that’s not enough. In a recent postgame interview, Embiid had this to say:

“I’ve never seen myself as just being a post player. I’ve always seen myself just be just being like Kevin Durant. Just moving all over the place, shooting off the dribble, handing the ball, crossing over, posting up.”

Should the 76ers be happy or worried Joel Embiid wants to be Kevin Durant?

And that’s exactly what he’s done this year. Embiid has looked comfortable all over the court, not just in a post setting. Taking the ball up the court looks like a natural thing for him now, not like a man on stilts trying to spin plates in both hands as can often be the case with big men.

As the article points out, the extension of his talents goes to “…shooting off the dribble, handling the ball, setting picks, pick-and-pop, handoffs, coming off screens, and posting up.” Coupling this with his jump in free throw percentage and a freer scheme under Doc Rivers has allowed Embiid to take his game to an MVP level.

Joel Embiid still has a bit to do to get on Kevin Durant’s level as maybe the greatest scorer of all time, but this is only Embiid’s fifth season and at 27 should be hitting his prime years. If he can transform this game in only a few short months after the bubble and continues to show this type of dedication to evolution, it suddenly gets really exciting to think where he might end up.