Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young don't have too much in common besides being All-Stars and the face of their franchises.
As one is a seven-foot center and the other is an undersized point guard, they can't really be compared.
But Embiid respects Young's IQ and approach to the game as he's clever at drawing fouls, which is something that he's prided himself on throughout the entire year.
“When you talk about drawing fouls, a lot of people, I guess, call it flopping, all that stuff but, the way I say it is it’s about being smarter than your opponent,” Embiid said back in late January following a win over the Timberwolves.
“You gotta have a high basketball IQ," he continued. "I’m talking to the young guys, they’re like, ‘How can we draw fouls? How can we get to the free-throw line?’ and I’m like, ‘You gotta be smart like as soon as you feel the contact, you gotta go through it,' and that’s how you get fouled.”
The way Embiid approaches the game is frustrating to his opponents and a lot of spectators who are rooting against him. And the same goes for those who play and root against the young Atlanta Hawks guard as he's mastered his craft of finding ways to make something out of nothing when it comes to fouls.
Some Sixers might be frustrated with the foul calls against them when it comes to Trae Young throughout the first three games of the second-round series so far. However, Embiid has nothing but respect for it.
"He’s a smart basketball player," Embiid said following Friday's Game 3 win over the Hawks. "A lot of people complain, or we complain about fouls, but me being in the same situation about getting on the free throw line -- it’s more about basketball IQ. It’s hard to guard him. Especially coming off those picks, and you can’t get close to him because he’s smart enough to know how to get to the free-throw line."
Having experience on the other end of those questionable calls helped Embiid and the Sixers in this series as the big man knows how to counter it. While Young still makes life difficult for the Sixers' aggressive defenders, Embiid and the Sixers have managed to hold Trae Young to under 30 points in both games following his 35-point outing in Game 1 last Sunday. The work isn't done yet, but the Sixers have been doing an excellent job guarding the young superstar after making adjustments.