Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert have had their fair share of bouts against one another in the NBA. Although the two centers don’t face each other frequently, considering they are in different conferences, Embiid has made it clear that Gobert is one of his most intriguing matchups considering the French center is an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year winner.
When the 2021-2022 season concluded, Gobert’s future in Utah was in question. After the Jazz came up short in the playoffs, there were rumors that the Gobert and Donovan Mitchell duo could split up. Sure enough, that was the case.
The Jazz sent Gobert packing to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a haul of players and picks. There was no scenario where the Philadelphia 76ers would’ve traded for Gobert to team up the two All-Star centers, but there is a chance that Embiid and Gobert could become teammates in the future.
Toward the end of the 2022 playoff run, reports indicated that Joel Embiid was looking to obtain a French passport so he could potentially play for the country’s national team. In the event that Embiid joins the roster, he would team up with Gobert.
So far, Embiid is on track to joining France’s squad. Last month, it was reported that Embiid became a citizen of France. However, he didn’t intend to join the team this summer as he had to undergo multiple surgeries on his hands.
“I’m focused on getting healthy,” said Embiid when the 2022 postseason run ended. “That’s the key. The NBA season is what’s more important. I have to put that focus into playing 82 games and the playoffs before I do anything in the summer that could jeopardize what I’m able to do during the regular season.”
While he won’t make his national team debut just yet, it seems Embiid is on pace to make it happen next year — and Gobert recently weighed in on the potential of that happening, according to BasketNews.
“He’s an incredible player,” said Gobert. “There are lots of things to think about. Joel is a unique player and we have a team that is already well-knit. A group that lives well together. You have to see how it might work for the group.”
The on-court fit between Embiid and Gobert might be questionable, considering they are both bigs, but the Sixers’ center has proven to be as versatile as they come.
While Embiid’s skillset in the post is certainly his strong suit, he’s grown into becoming a three-level scorer. Not to mention, he’s one of the most talented defenders in the league.
Fit concerns aside, Embiid would be a stellar addition to France, and he could immediately boost their roster if he remains healthy and willing to play beyond the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.