Joel Embiid addressed why it was vital for him to study numerous great players from the past, take certain things from their game, and implement it to his own, making him one of the most dominant players in the NBA.
Influence of other players
For the past few weeks, Joel Embiid has been playing like a true MVP, racking up dominant performances and putting the Philadelphia 76ers on his back, trying to get the team a good spot in the playoffs. In a win against the Lakers the other night, he finished the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, exploiting the fact Lakers were double-teaming him a lot, allowing him to put his teammates in positions to score.
Embiid is playing the best basketball of his life right now, and his versatility on both ends of the floor is what is keeping the Sixers a legitimate playoff contender. The eye test also doesn't lie, Embiid's game is incredibly polished for someone who is 7'2" and 280 pounds, and he often looks like an enormous guard on the floor capable of handling and shooting the ball.
In a press conference after the game, Embiid discussed why he is an avid student of the game and how he watched other legends and tried to implement their moves into his own game. Despite playing as a center, Embiid took a lot of from guards like Kobe and MJ but other great centers like Hakeem Olajuwon or Patrick Ewing.
"Not to brag about it, but there is a lot in my game. There is a little bit of everything when it comes to the great players that have come through in this game and this league. You can talk about Hakeem, Pat, Kobe, MJ, Dirk. I watch all these guys, and I try to pick up little things they do so well and try to add it to my game. So when you talk about skill, obviously, Hakeem is probably considered as a more skilled player, especially for his size. Just the way he moved on the court I try to put in my game, and his post-game was unmatched, so I try to add that to my game."
Comparisson with Hakeem
Embiid has a lot of respect for Hakeem, and people often compare the two, and rightfully so. They are both incredibly versatile for their size, and Embiid studied Hakeem a lot even though he believes he does a few things better than him. However, he is convinced a player like Hakeem would quickly adapt to today's NBA and develop other aspects of his game.
"I can handle the ball a bit better, shooting off the dribble, shooting threes. I am sure if he played in this era, he would adapt and add that to his game, and that is how good he was. Like I said, I try to take a bunch of parts of each of the greats that have come through the game and try to add it to my game and bring it all together."
Embiid has a clear goal in his mind: to finally become a winner in the NBA and that people remember him as a skilled player who was able to do it all on the court.
"I work hard to add everything possible to my game to be an even more complete player, and when I am done with basketball, I want to be considered a winner. I also want to be considered as one of the most skilled players ever, especially for my size."
Thanks to Embiid's heroics in the last few weeks, the Sixers are currently sitting in the 6th spot in the eastern conference, only one win behind the Brooklyn Nets. Embiid is a starter in the All-Star Game, and it seems his game reached a whole other level that, luckily, we can witness.