NBA Scout on 76ers' Joel Embiid: 'I'm Not Sure Who Can Defend Him'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts after a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Joel Embiid was the MVP of the first half of the 2020-21 NBA season. He's also by far the league's most-respected scorer among big men.

The Athletic spoke to 30 people within the NBA, asking them to rank their purest scorers. Embiid finished seventh on the overall list and was the only center to receive any votes.

"That dude can score at will at this point of his career," said a scout who ranked Embiid fourth. "I'm not sure who can defend him."

Embiid is averaging a career-high 30.2 points this season, thanks in part to improvements he's made as a shooter. After making no more than 36.7 percent of his threes in his first four NBA seasons, Embiid is draining 41.6 percent of his triples.ย 

Add in Embiid's dominance and versatility in the post, and he's overwhelmed opposing defenders all season.ย 

Kevin Durant ran away with the overall voting, earning 20 of the 30 first-place votes. James Harden came in second place and Kyrie Irving sixth, giving the Nets three of the top six scorers in the game, according to people within the league.