One comparison always seemed to rise above the rest when the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Joel Embiid back in 2014 and has stuck ever since: Hakeem Olajuwon. Both big men shined by combining their incredible size with stunning grace and agility on the floor.
But for now, there’s bad blood between the two. Recently, the Hall of Famer criticized Embiid over his “settling” by shooting threes.
“He’s got all the moves, but leveraging the moves is different. Why would he be shooting threes?” Olajuwon asked Chris Ballard of Sports. “He has the advantage every night, and if I have the advantage, I’m going to wear you out.”
“But threes? ‘That’s settling! When I’m tired, I settle. You don’t settle when you’re trying to win. You don’t start the game settling!”
And after the Sixers’ win over the Portland Trailblazers, Embiid appeared to take the chance to clap back at Olajuwon and the old heads who continually gripe about the modern game.
“It’s funny when you’ve got these old guys always talking about posting up, ‘you need to spend time in the paint,’ and all that stuff,” Embiid said, per Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. “You can’t win this way anymore. It’s not the fricking 90s or 80s like it used to be. So, they must not have any basketball IQ.”
Sixers Eyeing Bigs Ahead of Deadline
Though Embiid’s spot in Philadelphia’s rotation may be firmly in place, the same cannot be said for the rest of the team’s bigs. With Montrezl Harrell having taken over the backup slot, he’s hardly won the full trust of fans.
“San Antonio is one that has had some interest [in Thybulle]. Thybulle is a [head coach Gregg] Popovich kind of player, and they’re trying to do some reclamation projects down there,” the GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. “The Sixers could take a chance on Zach Collins. They’re really looking for some depth up front. Not sure of their interest in Collins, but that would be the only guy who makes sense there.”
If anything, Collins would provide some more optionality for the Sixers come playoff time.
And given Embiid’s unfortunate injury history during the playoffs, the more options the better for Philadelphia. He’s contributing 9.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per night. Collins is in the second year of a three-year, $22 million contract.
Sixers Linked to Andre Drummond Ahead of Deadline
On the January 14 episode of “Postin’ Up With Keith Smith and Adam Taylor,” Smith suggested a few backup bigs that Philly could potentially target via trade, including one player who played well for the Sixers in the past.
“I wouldn’t be shocked fully if it turned into a, ‘You know what, let’s get Andre Drummond back,’” Smith said. “So he is a guy whose contract has expired and he signed with the Bulls. If the Bulls say, ‘Yeah, backup center is a luxury for us because we’re not very good,’ Philly could go trade for Drummond for next to nothing. And that could be, you know, this was because he played really well for Philadelphia a year ago.”