Last season, Joel Embiid's back and forth with basketball legends Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley taught us that the Philadelphia 76ers center doesn't see himself the same way as many other spectators do.
While Embiid is dominant and nearly unstoppable when he's playing down low in the post, the MVP candidate sees himself as a much more versatile player. And who can blame him? After all, Embiid can truly do it all and score from anywhere on the court.
Respectfully, Embiid doesn't want to be the next Shaq. Instead, he recently revealed that he sees himself more as a Kevin Durant type of player. While the Brooklyn Nets star doesn't play the same position as Embiid, the comparison makes sense.
At six feet ten inches, Kevin Durant can do it all. He's a three-level scorer and an offensive threat everywhere on the floor. Embiid, who is always working on perfecting his shot, sees himself the same -- especially after putting in extra work during the shortened offseason following a disappointing playoff exit.
"When we lost in the bubble, and I was working out, one thing we were really focused on was working on my game off the dribble," Embiid said on Monday. "That's helped a lot. This year, the system that we have in place is dynamic. It allows me to not be a five. It allows me to be a basketball player. Either run the offense, be a scorer, or facilitator for other guys. It just allows me to be myself. I've never seen myself as being just a post player. I've always seen myself just being like Kevin Durant, moving all over the place, shooting off the dribble, handling the ball, crossover, and posting up."
Aiming to be like Kevin Durant surely isn't a bad thing for the Sixers star. After all, Durant is viewed as one of the best in the game as he's an 11-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA First Team, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and a former NBA MVP.
While Embiid's mentality might frustrate those with the same desires as Barkley and Shaq, wanting the Sixers center to stay down low and dominate in the paint, Embiid has made it extremely clear that he's going to continue working on perfecting his offensive game from all areas of the floor.