Sixers' Joel Embiid Says He Could Play Like Shaq, Dirk, Kobe Or MJ Whenever He Likes

JB Baruelo

Despite not having Ben Simmons on the court, the Philadelphia 76ers still continue to make a huge noise in the 2021-22 NBA season, thanks to the face of the franchise, Joel Embiid. Embiid is currently establishing an MVP-caliber performance this season, averaging 28.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Recently, Embiid dropped a new career-high in points (50) to help the Sixers obtain a 123-110 victory over the Orlando Magic at Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia.

Joel Embiid Compared Himself To GOATs

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In a post-game interview, Sixers point guard Tyrese Maxey shared an interesting conversation between him and Embiid before they faced the Magic. Maxey said he was messing with Embiid, asking him if he would be Shaquille O'Neal or Dirk Nowitzki against the Magic. Embiid told Maxey that he was just going to be himself.

Embiid explained his answer to reporters and added that he could be O'Neal and Dirk, and even Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan whenever he wants.

"I said me because at times whenever I want, I'm able to be Shaq," Embiid said, as quoted by Rich Hofmann of The Athletic, via Twitter. "And whenever I want, I'm also able to be Dirk or Kobe or MJ, guards really. Shooting off the dribble, pull-ups or ball-handling, just a combination of everything offensively."

Joel Embiid Ain't Joking

Embiid is indeed capable of playing like O'Neal, Nowitzki, Bryant, and Jordan. Like O'Neal, Embiid is also a monster shot-blocker and a dominant force under the basket. While he's not as deadly, he could also efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc like Nowitzki.

His position may be different than Bryant and Jordan, but there are things that those legendary guards did during their NBA days that Embiid can do right now. On Twitter, Embiid's shooting coach, Drew Hanlen, showed how studying Bryant and Jordan paid off for Embiid.

Comparison To Other Legendary Big Men

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Aside from the four legendary players that he mentioned, Embiid is also drawing comparisons to other NBA greats. In an interview with reporters, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers likened Embiid to Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett.

"He’s a little bit Olajuwon and a little bit Garnett - that’s a heck of a combination," Rivers said, via Tom Moore of USA Today, via Twitter. "I said it before that I knew he was good when I got here but I didn’t know he could do all this."

Joel Embiid's Stellar Performance Effect On Ben Simmons Saga

Before the season started, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has told everyone in the league that they would only trade Simmons for a package that includes All-Star caliber player in return. Some of the names that popped up as their rumored trade targets include Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.

However, with Embiid's incredible performance, Morey said in a recent appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic that they decided to expand the list of names of their potential trade targets for Simmons. Still, Morey believes that "it's less likely than likely" that a Simmons deal would be completed before the 2022 NBA trade deadline