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76ers' Joel Embiid Says You Can't Win Posting Up: 'Not the Fricking '80s or '90s'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2023

PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 19: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 19, 2023 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. 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 2023 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid suggested Thursday that former NBA centers who want more post-up play in today's NBA are living in the past.

While speaking to reporters about the evolution of his game and his preference of shooting from the elbow, Embiid said, "It's funny when you've got these old guys always talking about posting up, 'You need to spend time in the paint,' and all that stuff. You can't win this way anymore. It's not the fricking '90s or '80s like it used to be. So, they must not have any basketball IQ."

Embiid noted that while he used to favor posting up earlier in his career, it became too easy for teams to double-team players in those situations, which is why he decided to expand his game.

The Sixers superstar's comments came one day after Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated published an article about the lost art of post play in the NBA.

One of the central figures in the article was NBA legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who is one of the best centers of all time in the paint at both ends of the floor.

Olajuwon works with current Houston Rockets big men on their post play, and he continues to preach the importance of doing the dirty work down low.

A common discussion among fans and players these days is whether past players who operated exclusively in the post would be able to succeed in the current NBA.

Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal is a prime example, and Olajuwon believes Shaq would still be effective in the present-day NBA, saying: "Who's going to stop him?"

While such past vs. present discussions will only ever be theoretical, it is difficult to argue with the changes Embiid has decided to make in his game.

Last season, Embiid led the NBA in scoring with 30.6 points per game and finished second in the MVP voting behind another stretch-the-floor center in Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets.

So far this season, Embiid is averaging a career-high 33.6 points per game and shooting a career-best 53.7 percent from the field, and he has the 76ers in championship contention again as they are tied for second in the Eastern Conference at 29-16.