By Ky Carlin
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is one of the top 5 players in the NBA at the moment. There isn’t a lot that he can’t do on the floor and he dominates a game in so many different ways that teams just can’t find a way to stop him at all.
Embiid had himself another dominant game in Thursday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers as he had 32 points on 12-for-22 shooting, he knocked down a triple, and he was 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. Embiid does it all.
Embiid has had a lot of success on the offensive end operating from the nail area on the floor which is essentially the high post. From that spot on the floor, he can either knock down a mid-range jumper, step out for a 3-pointer, or scan the defense in order to make the correct pass. It’s easier to do so rather than being in the post.
“From the time that he (coach Doc Rivers) got here, the first thing that he told me was I need to figure out where I want the ball,” Embiid told reporters. “Obviously, before it was in the post, but like I mentioned in the past, posting up and posting all game long, it’s easy to double.”
NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon recently was a little critical of Embiid’s game. He questioned why the big fella steps out and shoots so many 3s and jump shots, but as Embiid alluded to, it’s a different game now, and he went into it even more.
“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 continued. “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.”
Olajuwon made the Hall of Fame by being an elite post scorer, but one has to be more than just a post scorer in today’s NBA. It is a much different game than the one played during Olajuwon’s time. He and the other older NBA big men have to understand that the game has evolved.
Embiid then explained that he and his trainer, Drew Hanlen, worked on getting him to be more efficient from the nail on the offensive end.
“Going back to what I was saying, he told me that I needed to find the area on the floor that I’m most comfortable with,” Embiid finished. “Obviously, me and Drew, we studied a lot. We just started figuring out ‘OK where can I be a better playmaker, and where can I be a better scorer without being easily doubled?’ That was at the nail. So, we started all of our work basically in those areas.”