Rick Carlisle on 76ers' Joel Embiid: Haven't Seen a Guy Like This in NBA History

Erin WalshApril 9, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 9: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass the ball during the game against the Indiana Pacers on April 9, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated Rick Carlisle's Indiana Pacers 133-120 on Saturday behind a 41-point performance from MVP candidate Joel Embiid, and while speaking with reporters after the game, the head coach lauded the veteran big man. 

"We haven’t seen a guy like this in the history of the league who has this kind of power and skill," Carlisle said. "He's able to score on all three levels effortlessly. He's an amazing player, and it will be interesting to see what teams do in the playoffs to try to slow him down."

This isn't the first time Carlisle has commented on how dangerous Embiid can be. Back in 2017 when he was coaching the Dallas Mavericks, he joked that the big man is so good that showing film of him to his team could be dangerous.

"You have to be careful what you show in pregame edits, or you might scare the s--t out of your team," Carlisle said at the time.

Embiid also had 20 rebounds and four assists against the Pacers. It marked his third 40-plus-point performance over the last week. He scored 44 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday and 45 against the Pacers on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old also made history Saturday by becoming the first center to average at least 30 points per game since Moses Malone accomplished the feat in 1982. 

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

Joel Embiid has officially become the first center to average 30 PPG in a season since Moses Malone in 1982. Some notable career-highs from those who never got there:<br><br>Robinson: 29.8 (93-94)<br>Shaq: 29.7 (99-00)<br>Ewing: 28.6 (89-90)<br>Hakeem: 27.8 (94-95)<br>Duncan: 25.5 (01-02) <a href="https://t.co/UjRJx2wlZO">https://t.co/UjRJx2wlZO</a>

Embiid has improved in each of his NBA seasons, but the 2021-22 campaign has seen him reach a new level. He entered Saturday's game averaging 30.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting 49.5 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from deep in 67 games.

The Sixers will need Embiid to be just as potent in the postseason, though there's no question that he'll be the best player on the court against whichever team Philadelphia plays in the first round. 

During the 2021 playoffs, Embiid averaged 28.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 39.0 percent from deep in 11 games. Considering the Sixers have a more experienced Tyrese Maxey and added superstar guard James Harden, Embiid is primed to have his best postseason yet. 

The Sixers will end the 2021-22 regular season Sunday against the Detroit Pistons. They sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 50-31 record and could move to third with a win and a Boston Celtics loss.