Sorry, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic, LaMarcus Aldridge and so many others.
Joel Embiid doesn’t think any of y’all are the NBA’s best big man.
That honor, according to him, belongs to him.
Consider Embiid’s recent appearance on NBA TV:
Caron Butler: Who’s the best big man in all of basketball?
Joel Embiid: You’re looking at him right here. I do it on both ends—defensively, offensively. Some people might have some other opinion about it, but I know that I am, and I know that people are saying that now because I do it on both ends.
Shocking, I know. Imagine an NBA star showing confidence in himself. We’ve never heard of that before.
If you want to watch the full interview, by the way, here ya go:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 3, 2017
Embiid certainly does have a case as the NBA’s best big man—one rooted in the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers play like a legitimate contender when he’s on the floor, according to NBA.com. He swallows shots at the rim, he abuses defenders in the post and off the dribble, he has three-point range (though it’s slumping at the moment), and while he’s turnover-prone, he’s making an effort to pass out of more double-teams.
Calling him the absolute best, however, rings slightly hollow at the moment. He has yet to play through an entire season without missing significant time, so this conversation would feel more appropriate over the summer, if and when he’s tallied, say, 60-something appearances through 2017-18.
It should also be noted Embiid trails some other bigs in a few macro-stat categories. Among players 6’10” or taller, according to Basketball-Reference, he ranks ninth in player efficiency rating, 18th in box plus-minus and 16th in value over replacement player. Those are elite marks, and when you trim out some of the anecdotal fat, he’s certainly a top-seven option in the frontcourt. But again: Embiid’s case as the NBA’s best big man will be much stronger if the Sixers’ clinch a playoff berth on the back of his season-long health.