If there’s one thing we’ve seen from Joel Embiid so far in his career, it’s that he’s not afraid to speak his mind. Whether during interviews or through his own social media, the big man is always ready to let you know how he feels. And one thing he’s made perfectly clear in the past few months is that he’s not interested in any comparisons between himself and this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Deandre Ayton.
Most recently, during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Embiid said the Phoenix Suns‘ rookie is in for a rough awakening in his debut season. While he says Ayton will eventually become a good player, Embiid also says the youngster has a lot of work to do. Via ESPN:
“He’s about to get his ass kicked this year,” Embiid said at the 76ers‘ practice facility in Camden, New Jersey.
“He’s going to be good,” Embiid told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and Stephen Jackson. “But when you talk about ‘He looks like Joel Embiid,’ I play on both sides of the court. I think I’m a good offensive player, good defensive player. I do it on both ends of the floor. I watched him play and he’s got a lot of work to do. But he’s got a lot of potential. He’s going to be really good.”
Though he, himself, has been in the league for just a few seasons — and has had plenty of injury issues — it’s not really all that crazy for Embiid to already be bothered by comparisons. Last season he put up 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game while playing just 30 minutes a night. At 24 he’s already established himself as one of the most talented players — let alone big men — in the league.
Ayton may have the size and physical tools to compare to Embiid, but he’ll have to be mighty impressive to reach that comparison in terms of skills and production.
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