Jusuf Nurkic Says Joel Embiid 'Tries to Be More Famous Than a Player'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 22: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket against Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on November 22, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Trail Blazers 101-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic took a shot at Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid following the Blazers' 114-110 win over the Sixers on Thursday night.

According to Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk, Nurkic suggested Embiid isn't focused enough on doing what it takes to become a top-flight player: 

"He tries to be more famous than a player. I respect him. He's a good player. He's not about tough. He's a skill player, who is getting tired, it looks like. And when you play defense on him and play offense on him and attack him, he's getting tired more."

Embiid finished Thursday's game with 29 points and nine rebounds, while Nurkic registered 21 points and 12 boards for the victorious Blazers.

Thursday's contest marked Embiid's third back in the lineup for Philly after missing five of the previous seven games due to back injury.

Embiid also missed each of his first two seasons and all but 31 games last season with myriad ailments.

Additionally, Embiid is highly active on social media, which is likely what Nurkic was referring to when he said the former Kansas standout is focused on being famous.

Despite that, Embiid is highly productive and a true game-changer when he is on the court.

In 26 games this season, Embiid is averaging 24.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.

The Sixers often struggle without him, though, and they are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference at 15-19, as they look to end a five-year playoff drought.

Nurkic isn't as highly touted as Embiid, but he has come into his own since getting traded from the Denver Nuggets to Portland last season.

Thus far in 2017-18, Nurkic is putting up career highs with 14.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for a Blazers team that is seventh in the Western Conference at 18-16.

Having already met twice this season, Embiid and Nurkic will not clash again on the court until 2018-19 unless the 76ers and Blazers unexpectedly reach the NBA Finals or both players are named to the All-Star Game.