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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr heaps on the compliments for Joel Embiid ahead of the MVP race.
Before the Philadelphia 76ers played the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had some flattering words to say about the Sixers’ big man. Hours before the matchup, Kerr made it clear that Embiid was one of the most special players in the NBA.
“He’s so gifted it’s really incredible,” Kerr told Sports Illustrated. “When you watch him, it’s almost like watching one of the great centers from the ’80s or ’90s, only with the added dimension of the skill-set of the modern-day player. The one-legged shots, Dirk fade-aways, the Euro — all of the stuff that the modern players have worked on, Joel has worked on.”
Kerr’s praise comes in anticipation for the MVP race, which pits Embiid against frontrunner Nikola Jovic, who has played 1,972 more minutes while averaging similar shooting percentages. Embiid has nonetheless posted monster numbers this season: he averages 30 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. If that isn’t enough to showcase his impact on the team, the Sixers are 30-8 when he plays and 9-9 when he doesn’t.
Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr recognizes Joel Embiid’s special skills
Those numbers aren’t as drastic as, say, the Warriors’ record without Stephen Curry; Curry has missed nine games this season, and in those games, Golden State is 1-8. Then again, the Warriors aren’t the No. 1 seed in their conference by a long shot.
The nicest thing Kerr had to say about Embiid’s game related to how the All-Star center was unlike any other player in the NBA.
“He’s one of the very few guys in the entire league who can also just back you down and dominate the game,” Kerr said. “He’s really a unique force in the league today.”
Coming from someone who has played with special talents Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, among others, and someone who has coached the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Kerr professes nothing but admiration for Embiid and what he’s accomplished so far.