At this point in the year, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid remains in the MVP conversation. While he might've missed too many games to be qualified to actually take home the award, the fact that he remains relevant in the conversation even after missing a notable chunk of games tells you all you need to know about the season he's had in 2020-2021.
In 39 games this season, Embiid has averaged just under 30 points while shooting a career-high of 51-percent from the field and 37-percent from three. While Embiid can dominate nightly in the post, the big man made it clear he wants to be a threat to score anywhere on the floor -- something like Kevin Durant or Dirk Nowitzki.
And the competition is well-aware of the fact that Embiid is versatile and nearly unstoppable when he's hot. Before the Sixers hosted the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr weighed in on the thriving big man his team was about to compete against. To no surprise, Kerr had nothing but praise for Embiid just hours before the matchup.
“He’s so gifted, it’s really incredible," Kerr said about Embiid. "When you watch him, it’s almost like watching one of the great centers from the 80s or 90s, only with the added dimension of the skill set of the modern-day player. The one-legged shots, Dirk fade-aways, the Euro -- all of the stuff that the modern players have worked on, Joel has worked on. He’s one of the very few guys in the entire league who can also just back you down like an 80s or 90s center and dominate the game. He’s really a unique force in the league today.”
With a shorthanded lineup on the floor on Monday, Embiid garnered a lot of attention and was equipped with less help as Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris were both absent for the night. Every time Embiid touched the ball, he was swarmed by multiple defenders. While the matchup was certainly frustrating for the big man, the amount of double-teams he drew was nothing short of a compliment to his game.
Embiid led the Sixers in scoring on Monday night with 28 points. While it wasn't his sharpest performance, nothing should be taken away from the four-time All-Star. He's still dominant and a notable force for the Sixers, and the opposition understands just how dangerous he can be on all areas of the floor.